As of February 22, the province of Saskatchewan has reported 3 new COVID-19 cases. In the last four days, the number of infected has been rapidly increasing in the Regina zone as the province declared 30 new cases on Friday, 78 on Saturday, 56 on Sunday, and 48 on Monday.
Dr. Kyle Anderson, a biomedical professor at the University of Saskatchewan, believes that behind this new rise in the number of infected lies the variant of COVID-19.
“In the last couple of weeks, we can see that it’s been going very much in the wrong direction compared to what Saskatoon is [doing]. And now we’ve got this sort of gap in between Saskatoon and Regina, which can’t really be explained by the number of tests done … That means probably more cases are being produced.”
The number of cases has recently spiked in both Regina and Saskatoon. Weather fluctuations have been similar in these two locations over the last six weeks and they both also follow the same COVID-19 rules and regulations.
Mr. Anderson tried to explain this surge in coronavirus cases:
“It could be localized outbreaks and secondary cases from those. But I think that the thing that epidemiologists … would be worried about is that if there were to be new variants spreading in Regina, that would account for a higher rate of transmission and a higher test positivity. Right now we might be in this sort of window where if a new variant is starting to become more prevalent in Regina, the numbers would show it before the testing comes back to show that the variants are here.”
The new, more dangerous, Covid-19 variant first appeared in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa. In Canada, every province reported at least one new case of the new variant, while Saskatchewan has identified three as of Feb. 22. Alberta has suffered the most, identifying 239 variant cases.
Dr. Anderson believes that the new COVID-19 variant is spreading from Alberta and that people need to be cautious about it.
“There’s a lot of migration from [Alberta] to here — people going from work, people doing essential jobs. And it’s sort of naive for us to think that [the variants are] not here or wouldn’t be coming here and that at some point in time we are going to have community transmission of these variants, just as we’ve seen in Alberta.”