First cases of Omicron variant confirmed in Saskatchewan

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

The Ministry of Health confirmed that four Saskatchewan residents from a single household are receiving whole genome sequencing to confirm if they have the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) COVID variant.

All four people have a history of travel to one of the 10 countries identified as countries of concern by the federal government.

The news comes after Premier Scott Moe announced there were positive Omicron cases in Saskatchewan Wednesday morning.

The Ministry noted that all variant of concern screening and sequencing results are posted in the COVID-10 dashboard daily at 1:30pm.

The individuals and their close contacts have all been identified and are currently isolating. Contact investigations underway have confirmed that the risk of community transmission is low.

If the contact investigation had determined that there was a risk of community transmission, additional information would be provided to residents  to self-monitor or self-isolate and seek testing.

As providing the region where these cases reside risks identifying these individuals, their location will not be disclosed.

Case management and the diligence of the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory has ensured that these results were quickly identified.

It is expected that additional Omicron cases will be detected in Saskatchewan and all residents should continue to follow best public health practices to prevent all COVID-19 transmission. Slowing all COVID-19 transmission will slow the transmission of variants.

Province reports 2 deaths related to COVID-19 Wednesday

Saskatchewan health officials reported two new deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The deaths were reported in the South East and Central West zones. There have now been 936 deaths related to COVID-19 reported in Saskatchewan.

Health officials reported three new cases of COVID-19 in North Central on Wednesday. This was among 48 total cases in the province. The Saskatoon zone led the province with 13 new cases.

Of the 80,950 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 609 are considered active.

North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 21 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has eight active cases and North Central 3 has 36 active cases.

According to the province, 35.4 per cent of new cases are in the 40 to 59 age category. Also, 45.5 per cent of new cases eligible for vaccination were fully vaccinated. This number has shifted since the eligibility is now open to 5-years-old and up.

There are currently 124 COVID-19 patients in hospital across the province, with 93 receiving inpatient care and 31 in the ICU. North Central has eight patients in hospital.

At the time, vaccination status of the 124 hospitalized patients is unknown and awaiting an update from the SHA.

There is currently one case who has been transferred out-of-province. One person has been repatriated since Tuesday.

As the patient is receiving care out of province, this number is not included in the hospitalization counts in dashboard.

The current seven-day average for new cases is 62, or 5.2 cases per 100,000 population.

Another 174 recoveries were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 79,965.

Since the start of the pandemic, 19,887 cases are from the North area (8,842 North West, 8,208 North Central and 2,837 North East).

There were 1,919 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Tuesday. As of Dec. 8, there have been 1,292,026 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan.

There were 2,260 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 1,766,694.

There were 267 doses administered in the North Central Zone reported on Wednesday.

According to the province 59,079 individuals are fully vaccinated in North Central.