Final weekly report shows continuing downward trend in COVID-19

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

The final weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed a continuing trend of decreases in hospitalizations related to COVID-19, as well as a decrease in overall cases.

The numbers include cases reported between June 19 to June 25. There were three deaths reported during this time—a decrease of nine from the previous report. One of those deaths occurred prior to June 19, but was not recorded as a COVID death at that time. The remaining two deaths occurred between June 19 and June 25.

North Central reported one COVID death during this period. The Saskatoon and South East zones also reported one death.

Two of those deaths involved patients age 80 or older. The other was a patient in the 20 to 39 age group. One patient was female. The other two were males.

The report shows 119 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a decrease of 38 from last week. There were four individuals reported in the ICU, a decrease of one over the previous week.

Of these 30 were COVID-19 related illness, 79 were incidental COVID-19 infections and 10 patients were under investigation.

Overall in Saskatchewan, the rates of COVID-19 hospitalization, ICU admission and deaths are higher among people who are unvaccinated than among people with two or three vaccinations.

In each age group, rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and death are higher among unvaccinated individuals compared to those who have received two or three doses.

Lower rates of severe outcomes in the three-dose group compared to the two dose group are suggestive of the added benefits of the booster dose.

The predominant variant during the observation period was Omicron, an indication that being fully vaccinated and boosted provides protection against the Omicron variant.

Unvaccinated people were about six times more likely to die than people who were vaccinated with three doses when adjusted for age.

The province also reported nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from June 19 to June 25.

This was among 208 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.

The 394 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 17 laboratory-confirmed cases per 100,000 population.

The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 70 new cases.

The highest proportion of new cases for the week was in the North West and South Central zones, both at 23 per 100,000. The lowest proportion, in zones having a case, was in Far North East at 4 per 100,000.

The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 17 per 100,000 population, which is lower than last week.

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

There were 168 variants of concern (VOCs) reported during the week of June 19 to June 25 compared to 94 in the previous report.

Of the total VOCs reported in the past two weeks, 100 per cent were the Omicron VOCs.

The province also reported three new outbreaks in Long Term Care, care homes and personal care homes. There were no new outbreaks reported in the North Central zone in the reporting period.

Of these, two outbreaks were reported in long term care facilities and one outbreak occurred in personal care homes.

As of June 25, of the population five years and older, 86.0 per cent had received at least one dose and 81.2 per cent completed a series, unchanged from the previous week

Among the population 18 years and older, 52.8 per cent had received at least one booster, similar to the previous week.

During the week of June 19 to 25, 2022, 3,429 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, of which 214 were pediatric doses and 2,967 were booster doses.

On July 21, a three-week report will be released (reporting period of June 26 to July 16). 

The first monthly report will be released on August 18 (with a reporting period of July 17 to August 13).

Fall vaccination campaign being planned

On June 29, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released guidance for fall COVID-19 vaccination planning, reinforcing that all residents should be up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations with all eligible booster doses. 

This guidance included additional doses for those at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and providing an additional dose to all residents 12 years and older.

This guidance will be incorporated into provincial planning for the COVID-19 vaccination program for this fall. Details will be announced when finalized