The latest round of waste water analysis in Saskatoon indicates there could be a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the city.
From April 16 to April 20, the presence of RNA load in Saskatoon’s waste water increased by 312 per cent compared to the previous week up to April 15, according to a team of University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers.
“This rapid increase in viral RNA load in the waste water is expected to be predictive of a rapid increase in new cases in Saskatoon,” reads a bulletin from USask’s Global Institute for Water Security posted Monday.
“The last time viral load in the waste water was comparable to these levels (November 2020), Saskatoon saw case numbers rise to >100 per day in the following week(s).”
Because the novel coronavirus can be detected through human feces before a person might exhibit symptoms, the analysis is viewed as a signal of what COVID-19 case counts might look like seven to 10 days later.
The B.1.1.7 variant of concern, first detected in the United Kingdom, represents 86 per cent of the viral RNA load in Saskatoon’s waste water — a seven-per cent increase from the previous week, according to the researchers.
The P1 variant, first detected in Brazil, and B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, were not found in Saskatoon’s waste water.