COVID-19: Virus level down in Saskatoon, P.A., North Battleford sewage

A University of Saskatchewan toxicologist says the viral load in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford wastewater keeps dropping.

The presence of the COVID-19 virus in wastewater of three of Saskatchewan’s biggest cities remains high, but appears to be trending downwards.

University of Saskatchewan toxicologist John Giesy said in an email this week that the viral RNA loads in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford’s wastewater “continue to decline.”

You are reading: COVID-19: Virus level down in Saskatoon, P.A., North Battleford sewage

Saskatoon saw a week-over-week decrease of 27.2 per cent in the reporting period up to Oct. 19. According to Giesy, the load is considered medium because it is lower than a 10-week average in the city.

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He said the most recent measurement is the fourth-straight weekly decline “and indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 infection in Saskatoon is reducing.”

Prince Albert saw a week-over-week drop of 45.4 per cent in the reporting period to Oct. 17. The viral load is the fifth consecutive weekly decline, “confirming that the infection level in the city is going down,” Giesy said.

North Battleford figures decreased by 38.4 per cent in the reporting period to Oct. 14. As in Prince Albert, North Battleford saw a decline for the fifth straight week.

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According to Giesy, the loads are also considered medium in P.A. and North Battleford because they are lower than the 10-week average in the cities.

Giesy is part of a U of S team that measures COVID-19 through wastewater. People infected with the virus leave traces of it in their feces, and by measuring the viral load in a city’s sewage, researchers are able to approximate how many people in that city are infected with COVID-19.

Since Saskatchewan no longer reports daily COVID-19 data and relies on rapid antigen tests for testing in the general population, wastewater data is one of the best indicators available for how the virus is spreading.

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