University of Saskatchewan researchers, in partnership with the City of North Battleford, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Public Health Agency of Canada are detecting increases of SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 Virus) in North Battleford’s wastewater.
Most people with COVID-19 start shedding the virus through their stool within 24 hours of being infected. This “viral signal” detected in wastewater helps provide population-level estimates of the rate of infection in a city, indicating whether the number of infected people is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.
The viral wastewater signal indicates changes in the numbers of active cases and hospitalizations 7 to 10 days before they occur.
Wastewater testing complements testing performed on individuals (swab testing) that is the primary method in COVID-19 surveillance. However, these tests do not capture people who are already infected but do not yet exhibit symptoms, do not show symptoms at all, or only very mild ones.
For the week ending on August 12, 2021, researchers observed a 10-fold increase in viral RNA load in North Battleford’s wastewater. This sharp increase in viral RNA load is indicative of an increase in COVID-19 infections in North Battleford. In a partially vaccinated population, this may or may not be reflected by new case numbers in upcoming weeks.
Currently, all of the viral RNA load in wastewater is contributed by the Delta (B.1.617) variant of concern.
The City of North Battleford endeavors to provide information relevant to its citizens as it becomes available. For up to date information on the Covid-19 pandemic please visit the Saskatchewan Health Authority Website at www.saskhealth.ca.
A PDF copy of the original report may be accessed below.
For more information:
David D’Eon, Public Relations
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