COVID-19 steady and influenza on the rise according to report

Graphic courtesy HFCM Communicatie, via Wikimedia This is a representation of what the Covid-19 virus would look like under a powerful microscope.

According to the province’s bi-weekly respiratory illness surveillance report, COVID-19 has stabilized while influenza has increased.

According to the new report COVID-19 has decreased in Saskatchewan. The reporting period was from Feb. 11 to Feb. 24 .The report was released on March 1.

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 is stable, with 151 cases in the week ending Feb. 24.

In the most recent week, the proportions of COVID-19 cases were highest among those 65 years and older (48.9 per cent), followed by individuals 20-64 years of age (33.8 per cent).

In July 2023 the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) took over wastewater data from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.

Current wastewater analysis showed that COVID-19 levels in the majority of the surveyed areas of the province remained moderately elevated, continuing the trend observed in preceding weeks.

These are only lab-confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test-confirmed cases.

The province warns that rates should be interpreted with caution because they do not include cases detected by home rapid-antigen test kits.

In the last two weeks, no deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported.

The report shows there are currently 41 hospital admissions and two ICU admissions.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased from 75 for the previous two weeks to 81 for the most recent two weeks, reflecting an eight per cent increase. COVID-19 ICU admissions decreased from 11 for the previous two weeks to seven for the most recent two weeks.

The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients remained stable at to 4.2 per cent for the current surveillance period

There were nine COVID-19 outbreaks reported in high-risk settings compared to eight in the previous two-week period

As of Feb. 24, 18.1 per cent of those aged six months and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Vaccination coverage is generally below 10 per cet for ages six months to 64 years, except in Saskatoon (14.5 per cent), Regina (14.2 per cent), and North East (10.4 per cent). Vaccination coverage for individuals aged 65 years and older was highest in Regina (58.4 per cent), followed by Saskatoon (55.3 per cent), Central West (51 per cent), and South Central (50 per cent).

Influenza has become more prevalent in the province.

The number of positive tests for influenza have increased from 79 in the week ending Feb. 10 to 104 in the current surveillance week.

No influenza-associated deaths were reported in this two-week reporting period.

Influenza hospitalizations have increased from 19 for the previous two weeks to 27 for the most recent two weeks. Influenza ICU admissions have remained stable at three for the most recent two weeks

As of Feb. 24, 24.7 per cent of the Saskatchewan population received influenza vaccine this season. For those aged 65 years and older overall coverage was 59.3%, the highest was in Regina (64.2%) and lowest in Far North Central (41.0%). For those aged less than 65 years the overall coverage was 17.6%; the highest was in Saskatoon (21.3%) and lowest was in Far North West (10.2%).

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines were available in Saskatchewan effective Oct. 10, 2023.

The report also included the school absenteeism data. School absenteeism increased slightly from 12.8 per cent in the week ending Feb. 10, to 13 per cent in the week ending Feb. 17. There was no data available for the week ending Feb. 24 as students were on February break.

As of Oct. 13, 2022 the Ministry of Health launched the community respiratory illness surveillance program (CRISP) report to integrate COVID-19 surveillance and reporting with provincial respiratory illness and surveillance reporting, including influenza.

The report standardizes the epidemiological information required for respiratory illness surveillance and risk management and will be issued bi-weekly during respiratory illness season.