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Saskatoon sees COVID-19 viral load decrease amid rises elsewhere

Wastewater numbers in Saskatchewan warned that North Battleford's RNA load indicates that infections are higher than the value recorded in the previous week and should be watched. Still Image/Global News

The weekly COVID-19 wastewater numbers for Saskatchewan show a decrease in Saskatoon, but a rise in both North Battleford and Prince Albert.

The report, put together by the University of Saskatchewan and Global Water Futures researchers, shows a 54.3 per cent drop in the RNA load found in Saskatoon’s wastewater for the reporting period up to Nov. 30.

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It was noted that this is the third successive decrease in the viral load, and that this decrease indicates a reduction in infections.

The report added that the concentration of the viral particles found in the wastewater was considered medium.

Proportions of the RNA load were divided up with 42.1 per cent being attributed to the BA.5 variant. The BA.2.75 variant made up 4.8 per cent of the viral load, and other Omicron variants were attributed to the remaining 53.1 per cent.

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The report noted that the R346T mutation, which is one of the key signatures of the BQ.1 variant and its sub-lineages, was found in all the samples across Saskatchewan, meaning that it’s likely present.

The overall viral load found in the wastewater in Saskatoon. University of Saskatchewan
The percentage of Omicron variant RNA found in the wastewater in Saskatoon. University of Saskatchewan

Prince Albert saw a 81.3 per cent rise in the RNA load found in its wastewater for the reporting period up to Nov. 28.

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Last week’s numbers couldn’t be posted for Prince Albert, but the report said this week’s numbers indicate that the infections are not going down yet.

The report added that the concentration of the viral particles found in the wastewater was considered medium.

BA.5 made up 50 per cent of the RNA load found in the wastewater, with 1.6 per cent being attributed to BA.5.1, and the remaining 48.4 per cent being attributed to other Omicron variants.

The overall viral load found in the wastewater in Prince Albert. University of Saskatchewan
Percentage of Omicron variant RNA found in the wastewater in Prince Albert. University of Saskatchewan

The report said North Battleford saw a 153.6 per cent increase in the RNA load for the reporting period up to Nov. 25.

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It warned that this week’s RNA load indicates that infections are higher than the value recorded in the previous week and should be watched.

The report added that the concentration of viral particles found in the wastewater was considered medium.

Proportions of the RNA load found in North Battleford were divided between BA.5, which made up 49.5 per cent, and other Omicron variants, which made up the remaining 50.5 per cent.

The overall viral load found in the wastewater in North Battleford. University of Saskatchewan
The percentage of Omicron variant RNA found in the wastewater in North Battleford. University of Saskatchewan
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