Majority of province’s hospitalizations in 40-79 age range

Every age group represented in COVID-19 stays, data shows

(Saskatchewan Health Authority/Submitted)

About two-thirds of all hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been in residents aged 40 to 79, data from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health shows.

The Herald asked for a breakdown in cumulative hospitalizations by age last week and received data accurate to November 6. It shows that, as of last Friday, there have been 189 people in total hospitalized with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Of those, 66 were between the ages of 60 and 79 and 64 were in the 40-59 age group.

Adults over the age of 80 account for 30 hospitalizations, while those in the 20-39 age group make up 23, and six have been aged 19 or younger.

As of last Friday, 51 COVID-19 patients had ended up in the ICU. Almost half (24) were in the 60-79 age group. People aged 80 or older made up 21 of the 51 ICU cases, while the rest were made up of people in the 40-69 age group (three), the 20-39 age group (one) or were 19 or younger (two).

The data shows that no age group has been immune from hospitalizations, nor from serious cases that landed them in the ICU.

It also, though, shows that older residents have been more likely to end up in the ICU if they end up in the hospital, with two-thirds of those aged 80 or older ending up in the ICU, and about one-third of those aged 60-79.

The information comes as the people spreading the novel coronavirus, more and more, tend to be younger people. Of the province’s 4,437 cumulative cases, 1,641 are in the 20-39 age range, 1,242 are aged 40-59, 544 are aged 60-70 and 110 have been 80 plus. People aged 19 or younger represent 900 cases.

Thursday also marks the release of the weekly COVID-19 testing report for school-aged children.

The latest report for Nov. 1-8 shows 286 active cases in children and youth and a test-positive rate of 5.2 per cent, another increase in the test positive rate over last week. Of those 286 active cases, 64 are in the north central zone as a whole, with 13 in the City of Prince Albert. Outside of Regina and Saskatoon, North Central 1 has the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in school-aged children with 42. That subzone includes communities such as Big River, Birch Hills, Candle Lake, Meath Park, Paddockwood, SHellbrook, Waskesiu and Weirdale.

Doctors pen letter urging stronger action to curb spread of COVID

Tuesday night a public letter originally signed by 260 physicians in Saskatchewan was posted on social media. The letter is addressed to Premier Scott Moe, Minister of Health Paul Merriman, and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. It’

“It is becoming increasingly clear to us, physicians from across Saskatchewan, that we are losing the battle against this virus.”

The letter continues that physicians are “confident” that winter will bring “overflowing hospitals, canceled surgeries, overwhelmed healthcare providers, and needless deaths” if changes aren’t made to COVID-19 restrictions in the province. 

“We humbly ask you to act with sufficient force to reverse the rising daily case counts while also detailing how and when we would escalate our interventions even further,” the letter read. 

Since being published, the letter has an additional 50 signatures from other doctors, with a total of 310 signatures. 

About nine physicians from Prince Albert have signed the letter. 

The letter and a list of signatures can be found at https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10159000816007292&set=a.10150092722587292

Official opposition adds voice to concerns about COVID-19 spread in Saskatchewan

With Manitoba going into another lockdown, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Economy and Jobs Critic Aleana Young called on the provincial government to talk to its neighbours and ask what they would have done several weeks ago to avoid getting into the situation they are currently in.

Over a Zoom press conference from Saskatoon on Nov. 12, Meili noted Saskatchewan has seen a 500 per cent increase in the number of new cases in the last 30 days, and hospitals have seen a 600 per cent increase in admissions. “Our hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed,” Meili said. L

earning from our neighbours was a point Meili stressed. He said, “Let’s be looking at what could prevent us getting into a situation like Manitoba, Alberta and North Dakota are in. And this is where, you know, the first step is to say, we’re actually interested in trying. And when I hear from Scott Moe, there’s no interest in either looking at all the options. That’s very disturbing. And yesterday we heard from Saskatchewan doctors, a call for leadership for action to address this surge this spike in new cases.”

Speaking from Regina, Young pointed out she is a small business owner, herself. She said the government has had eight months to plan for a second wave in the fall, but said there was no plan. “Businesses are still hurting here in Saskatchewan. We’re hearing that loud and clear across the province, and even without a shutdown, we’re facing real challenges.”

She noted most businesses rely on a good summer, and most need a good holiday season. Young said, “If we don’t get this right, it’s going to be a disaster for small businesses. And what we’re seeing right now is a complete lack of information, a complete lack of clarity, and a complete lack of anything approaching the plan from this government. With Christmas coming, I think what all businesses are looking for is some clarity, and some sort of information around what thresholds look like. As we know from the spring, shutdowns happen very quickly, but re-openings happen slowly. And right now, with the complete lack of information and lack of leadership from the government on small businesses and the employees who rely on them in this province, anxiety is high.”

Meili said, “If we get this wrong, if we get the health and safety side wrong, it’s going to be incredibly damaging for Saskatchewan’s economy.

Meili said he’s calling for clarity and action from the government.

Meili said that a mask mandate should be implemented across the entire province, not just Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. “Let’s staff up in health care. Get testing working properly. Get enough people in there so we’re able to keep up with the testing need and demand. Let’s staff up in long term care and acute care,” Meili said.

He also called for smaller classroom sizes. 

Ontario and British Columbia have taken some actions to reduce their per capita case rate, he noted. 

Meili said he’s hearing modelling showing Saskatchewan will hit 200 to 300 new cases per day “in a very short time,” but the modelling has not been shared by the government. 

With regards to the field hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon, which have not been activated, Meili said “It’s really important that we have those staffing contingencies in place.”

Long list of possible exposures for P.A.

On Thursday morning the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) warned residents of potential COVID-19 exposure at a number of locations across Prince Albert and in Sprirtwood.

The exposures were at the following locations:

  • Bocian Jewellers, 1235 Central Avenue, no time identified by client, Oct. 21 to Nov. 5
  • Winners, 2995-Second Avenue W, no time identified by client​, Oct. 28 to Nov. 5.
  • Supplement World, 783-801-15th Street E, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.,Lakeland Country Co-op Food Store, 777-15th Street E, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and  Walmart Supercentre, 800-15th Street E, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 25.
  • Sport Chek, 250-800-15th Street E, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Art Hauser Centre Rink, 690 Gary Anderson Way, 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and SaskPro Crossfit, 365 Marquis Road W #4, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 26.
  • Extreme Pita, 800-15th Street E, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Oct. 27.
  • SaskPro Crossfit, 365 Marquis Road W #4,  5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 28
  • Art Hauser Centre Rink, 690 Gary Anderson Way, 9:00 p.m. to​ 11:00 p.m. on Oct. 29
  • Harold’s Family Foods, 200-28th Street E, 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Real Canadian Superstore, 591-15th Street E, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.,  Party City, 801-15th Street E, 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Value Village, #380-800-15th Street E, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Boston Pizza, 3250-2nd Avenue W, from 10:00 p.m. to midnight and Grainfields, 600-15th Street E, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Oct. 30
  • Coronet Hotel Bar, 3551-Second Avenue W, 5:45 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (November 1),  Original Joes, 801-15th Street E, 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Minto Bowl & Rec Centre, 201-13th St E, 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
  • Great Asian Market, #5-2901-Second Avenue W, 11:30 a.m. to noon and  SaskPro Crossfit, 365 Marquis Road W #4, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 1.
  • Sport Chek, 250-800-15th Street E, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and SaskPro Crossfit, 365 Marquis Road W #4,  5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 2.
  • Value Village, #380-800-15th St E, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., Pines Power Sports Marine Prince Albert, Highway 2N, 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Mr. Mike’s Steak House, 801 15 St E #945, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Original Joe’s, 801-15th Street E, 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.​​​ on Nov. 3.
  • Canadian Tire, 3725-2nd Avenue W, 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., Michaels, 801-15th Street E Unit 761, 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and SaskPro Crossfit, 365 Marquis Road W #4, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 4

The possible exposure in Spiritwood was at the Spiritwood Pharmacy, 120 Main Street, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The SHA noted that a number of different cases stopped in at various times during this day for various lengths of time.

Other communities in the announcement included Hague, Martensville, La Ronge and Saskatoon.

The SHA sends out public alerts when health officials are uncertain about the number of known close contacts COVID-19 patients had before being tested. In those cases, they notify the community about locations the patient may have visited while infectious.

  • With Daily Herald files from Kelly Skjerven, Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter and Estevan Mercury files from Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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