COVID-19 wastewater numbers skyrocket in Saskatoon by virtually 750%

The amount of COVID-19 RNA in Saskatoon’s wastewater soared by nearly 750 percent in early April, according to the University of Saskatchewan researchers who monitor the water.

The overall numbers also increased in Prince Albert and North Battleford, as did the amount of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant.

University of Saskatchewan toxicologist John Giesy, who runs the team that monitors the wastewater in the three cities, said he was not surprised after seeing the numbers increase in Ontario.

“It was coming down precipitously and everyone was very optimistic. You know, the (Ontario) premier opened everything up and then when things turned around,” he said.

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“It’s a function of people letting their guard down. We go back to business as usual and I think that’s what we’re seeing here.”

The viral load in Saskatoon increased 742.9 per cent in the week leading up to April 6 compared with the week prior. Eighty-nine per cent of the virus detected is the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron subvariant, up from 70 per cent previously. BA.1, the original Omicron variant, accounts for the remaining 11 per cent.

The latest COVID-19 wastewater numbers show a nearly 750 per cent increase.

Supplied by John Giesy

The overall amount increased in North Battleford by 250.3 per cent in the period up to April 1 over the previous week, with BA.2 making up 80.1 per cent of all detected COVID-19, jumping up about 15 per cent.

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The amount of COVID-19 RNA in North Battleford increased 250% in the week leading up to April 1.

Supplied by John Giesy

And in Prince Albert, the amount of the virus increased 56.4 per cent leading up to April 4, after jumping up 288.5 per cent in the week before. The amount of BA.2 decreased from 62.3 per cent to 60.9 per cent, though Giesy said snowfall melt may be diluting the findings.

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The COVID-19 RNA in the wastewater increased 56.4 per cent over the week prior.

Supplied by John Giesy

Giesy said the wastewater numbers remain high.

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