Saskatchewan health officials reported two new deaths related to COVID-19 on Thursday.
One death was in the 80 plus age group in the Saskatoon zone and one death was in the South East zone in the 70 to 79 age group.
That’s in addition to the two deaths announced Wednesday, including a 30-yar-old in the North Central zone and someone over the age of 80 living in Regina.
The number of deaths related to COVID-19 has risen to 447.
On Thursday there were four cases reported in North Central, which includes Prince Albert.
This was among a total of 205 cases reported in the province. Regina led the province with 91 new cases reported.
North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 31 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 18 active cases and North Central 3 has 21 active cases.
There are currently 206 COVID-19 patients in hospital across the province. Of the 165 reported as receiving in patient care, there are three in North Central. Of the 41 people reported as being in intensive care, there are four in North Central.
The current seven-day average for new cases is 226, or 18.4 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 35,376 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 2,141 are considered active. Another 200 recoveries were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 32,788 .
Since the start of the pandemic, 8,245 cases are from the North area (3,346 North West, 3,540 North Central and 1,359 North East).
There were 3,151 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on April 7.
As of Thursday, there have been 687,328 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan.
There were 10,437 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 244,646. This was the highest one day total for vaccines administered.
There were 925 doses administered in the North Central Zone reported on Monday. Doses were also administered in the adjacent North East, North West, Far North West, Far North East, Central East, Central West, South Central, South East, South West, South Central, Regina and Saskatoon.
There were 223 doses administered with zone of residence pending.
The COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking system currently includes residents 58 years of age and older. Eligible residents are encouraged to book their COVID-19 vaccinations online or by phone.
21 variants of concern identified in North Central
There are now 21 confirmed variants of concern (VOC) cases identified by the province in the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, as of April 7.
This was among 2,948 variants of concern identified by screening in Saskatchewan to date. Other regions with identified cases included Regina, Saskatoon, Far North East, Central West, Central East, South West, South Central and South East. There are currently 19 cases with area of residency pending.
Regina led the province with 1,898 identified VOCs.
These have previously been reported as “presumptive positives” but all screening tests will be considered confirmed VOCs for the purposes of public reporting and contact investigations.
There were no new lineage results reported today. Of the 951 VOCs with lineages identified by whole genome sequencing in Saskatchewan, 943 are B22.214.171.124 (UK) and eight are B1.351 (SA).
The Regina zone accounts for 802 (84 per cent) of the VOC cases with confirmed lineage reported in Saskatchewan.
Public health measures extended to April 26
Existing public health measures are extended to April 26, the province announced Wednesday. The announcement was made as variants of concern continue to rise, as do hospitalizations in the Regina area.
Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce CEO Elise Hildebrandt said the local economy, as it is everywhere, will be affected.
“I think it’s going to breed a lot of impatience in people, and (they’ll) go, ‘okay, it’s getting nice out. Let’s get going. Let’s go out. We were safe all winter to walk outside without a mask,’ even though it was minus 40 and we were all very thankful for that mask, but I think as summer comes, people are just going to get a little more, ‘let’s go out.’ Thankfully it is summer so you can go out,” she said.
Hildebrant urged residents to continue following public health restrictions.
“You can go by a park and you didn’t see a lot of people out when it was minus 40, but now you go past it and—for example, there’s a skate park that I’m thinking of and all winter it was dead, but you can drive by any night of the week and it’s packed with people, so I’m nervous on that side of it,” she said.
“The government may call for further (restrictions) and it feels like it’s always our small businesses that have to give it up while those who work for the government continue to gather a paycheque.”
- With files from Jason Kerr