The COVID-19 viral RNA load in Prince Albert’s wastewater has increased by 58.2 per cent, according to a weekly report released by the USask Global Institute for Water Security on Monday.
The number is based on averages of three individual daily measurements in this reporting period up to Aug. 1 which are then compared to the weekly average of the previous week.
This week’s viral load of around 6,5000 dictates an increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections in Prince Albert. The concentration of viral particles is still in the relatively low range, being only 10 per cent of the maximum of the Omicron wave, but has shown a general increasing trend over the last seven weeks. The proportions of SARS-CoV-2 RNA load in Prince Albert’s wastewater by variant were: BA.2.12.1: 22.3 per cent, other BA.2: 30.2 per cent, BA.5: 47.6 per cent and non-Omicron lineages: 0.0 per cent.
All data has been shared with Saskatchewan health authorities.
The research team is also screening for the top three variants of concern: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (B.1.617). Additional variants will be added to the panel as the situation evolves.
USask and Global Water Futures researchers are using wastewater-based epidemiology to monitor for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and North Battleford wastewater, providing early warning of infection outbreaks. This work is being done in partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Public Health Agency of Canada, City of Saskatoon, City of Prince Albert and City of North Battleford.
This variant tracking data should be seen merely as an indicator of trends which need to be verified using sequencing technology through the Public Health Agency of Canada. Because individuals are at varying stages of infection when shedding the virus, the variant levels detected in sewage are not necessarily directly comparable to the proportion of variant cases found in individual swab samples confirmed through provincial genetic sequencing efforts.