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Evidence of COVID-19 up 743% in Saskatoon wastewater


Evidence of COVID-19 in Saskatoon's wastewater has leapt by 742.9 per cent over last week's reported amount.

That's according to the University of Saskatchewan research team that has been monitoring the city's water supply for coronavirus remnants.

Wastewater researcher John Giesy says data indicate about 2,200 people are infected with COVID-19 in Saskatoon.

“It's a combination of the restrictions being lifted, people being tired of COVID and just saying, 'The heck with it, people aren't getting very sick, I'm just going to go about my business, I'm not going to mask, I'm not going to restrict anything.'

“Also, our immunity seems to be waning. Some people that are doubly vaccinated and boosted are getting this now, so I'm not sure what that means, whether their immunity is decreasing or whether this variant can escape the immune system, but not cause very severe illness.”

The omicron BA.2 sub variant is now the dominant strain in Saskatoon, making up 89 per cent of the viral load, while the BA.1 sub-variant makes up 11 per cent.

Giesy says it’s more transmissible, but causes less severe disease — a trend most viruses follow in order to leave more hosts alive to spread it.

“That said, the number of hospitalizations in Ontario is increasing, as are the number of fatalities, but that's mostly older people,” he said.

“I would be proactive and I would limit access to long-term care immediately, based on our data.”

Giesy also warns that the sub-variant XE, a recombinant of the BA.1 and BA.2 strains of Omicron that is 10 per cent more transmissible, has emerged in the United Kingdom.

North Battleford also saw a significant rise in Monday's update, 250 per cent over the prior week. Prince Albert saw a jump of 56 per cent.

The University of Regina has also released wastewater numbers, showing they have decreased but remain high. Top Stories

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