Public Health doles out sole-sourced contract to monitor Saskatchewan sewage for COVID

It's part of a nationwide effort to use wastewater levels to get around declining testing to surveil community COVID levels.

Public Health doles out sole-sourced contract to monitor Saskatchewan sewage for COVID
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The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a sole-sourced contract to monitor sewage in Saskatchewan in an effort to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the Prairie province.

The contract details posted notes:

The Public Health Agency of Canada requires the services of a contractor to sample and test wastewater samples from wastewater treatment plants in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, North Battleford and from five First Nations communities in the province of Saskatchewan.

Valued in excess of $726,000 for one year's worth of work, the contract was awarded to the University of Saskatchewan.

Municpalities accross the country have been dipping their sticks in the local pee water for COVID voyeurism for months.

The City of Toronto monitors wastewater for COVID, admitting that with declining testing, sampling the toilet water is a backdoor way to monitor communities for COVID without individuals consenting to testing:

With recent changes to the provincial testing strategy, [Toronto Public Health] has been reviewing the use of additional sources of data to better understand the changes in COVID-19 activity. Wastewater surveillance involves testing for the virus in wastewater and looking at changes over time, helping us understand the true presence of COVID-19 in a community regardless of the testing strategy that is in place.

The City of Ottawa has been testing the sewage for COVID also. 

According to the city website:

Tracking the number of Ottawans testing positive for COVID-19 every day is one way of looking at the overall level of COVID activity; however, not everyone with COVID-19 is tested. In addition, COVID-19 testing and obtaining results takes time. These limitations mean that the daily positive test numbers that are identified are like a partial rear-view look at COVID-19 activity in the community. Other means of determining the degree of COVID presence in Ottawa would be welcome.

Studies have shown that a significant proportion of people with active COVID-19 infections shed the coronavirus (called SARS-VCoV-2) in their stool, sometimes even before their symptoms start. Every time an individual with COVID-19 goes to the bathroom, they flush the virus into the wastewater system. We are fortunate in Ottawa to have the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (ROPEC) which collects and treats wastewater from 91.6% of Ottawa’s population. This allows for centralized measuring of the level of the coronavirus genetic material (known as RNA), which can help shed light on whether the number of infected people in Ottawa is increasing, decreasing or staying the same. In essence, we are conducting a very broad COVID-19 survey to which we all contribute including those who are not getting tested themselves and those who may not even know they are infected.

The American CDC has been surveilling wastewater as well.

The mainstream media, meanwhile, has been using wastewater results as a tool to further the waning COVID hysteria in the general public.

CTV reports that though Alberta's hospitalization rates for COVID continue to fall, and that masks have been removed for almost a month, testing your flushes for the “WuFlu” remains extremely important, akin to PCR testing a whole neighbourhood (without the neighbourhood knowing or consenting):

As the province significantly cuts back on its reporting, there are still reminders the pandemic can't just be shut off .Without widespread testing, tracking wastewater may be the most reliable way to predict where the virus could go next.

"Wastewater data is very inclusive," geomicrobiology professor Casey Hubert told CTV News. "It says what you could if you could do a PCR test on the whole community."

"What we are seeing now is similar levels in wastewater to what we saw in the middle of the Delta wave in the fall," he said.

A separate report from CTV warned of increasing COVID in wastewater levels as a predictor of a spring outbreak.

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