New wastewater data collected by the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine shows that COVID-19 is on the rise again — but it’s not clear it’s making much of an impact.
According to Cumming School of Medicine microbiologist Dr. Dan Gregson, “The wastewater testing has shown, especially in Calgary, that the number of cases is going up and the positivity rate in the people we are testing has gone up as well.”
He further says that he believes hospitalization numbers could rise throughout April due to a brand new variant called the BA.2 variant — I guess they’ve dropped the Greek alphabet branding.
Based on the wastewater data released on March 28, 2022, SARS CoV-2 RNA has risen to levels above the spike seen on September 19, 2021 — around the same time Premier Jason Kenney locked Alberta down, implemented a vaccine passport, and issued an apology for letting Albertans be free for the summer.
However, despite COVID being more prevalent in wastewater, hospitalizations remain significantly lower.
At the time of writing, Alberta is only reporting 964 hospitalizations, with 47 currently in the ICU. However, on September 17, 2021, there were nearly 20,000 active cases, and the province needed to use surge beds as ICUs would have been at 155 per cent capacity.
Regardless, Gregson says Albertans should be concerned, get more vaccines, avoid contact with others, and return to masking indoors only a month after Kenney dropped the mask mandate.
“Get your vaccines up to date. If you are at risk of severe disease, try and limit your contacts, use a mask in most indoor settings and limit your contacts with people who may be infectious.”
Despite this recommendation, he concedes that contracting the new variant for most who’ve had COVID or received the vaccine will be like a “mild to moderate infection similar to a bad flu.”