For fourth consecutive week COVID-19 report shows decrease in hospitalizations

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

The COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed a decrease in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for the fourth consecutive week.

Those numbers were from cases reported between May 8 to May 14.

There were also 22 deaths reported over this time, an increase of three over the previous week. Eight of those deaths occurred prior to April 29, but were not reported as COVID deaths at the time. The remaining 14 deaths occurred between May 8 to 14.

North Central reported five COVID deaths during this period.

There was one death reported each in the adjacent North East and North West zones, seven reported in Saskatoon, three reported in the South East zone, two reported in the Central East zone and one each reported in the Central West, Regina and South West zones.

Of these, there were 12 reported in the 80 or older age group, six in the 70 to 79 age group, three in the 60 to 69 age group and one in the 19 and under age group. Of these 12 were female and 10 were male.

The report shows 270 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a decrease of 51 from last week. There were 14 individuals reported in the ICU, a decrease of two over the previous week.

Of these 97 were COVID-19 related illness, 164 were incidental COVID-19 infections and nine 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 seven times more likely to die than people who were vaccinated with three doses when adjusted for age.

The province also reported 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from May 8 to May 14.

This was among 465 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.

The 465 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 0.4 laboratory-confirmed cases per 1,000 population.

The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 123 new cases.

The highest proportion of new cases for the week was in the North West and Central East zones at 0.5 per 1,000 population. The lowest proportion was in the Far North West at 0.1 per 1,000 population.

The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 0.4 per 1,000 population, 0.2 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 265 variants of concern (VOCs) reported during the week of May 8 to May 14 compared to 252 in the previous report.

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

As well, 70.9 per cent of Omicron VOC were of sublineage BA.2 which was a sharp decrease in comparison to the last reporting week (94.8 per cent). The decrease was due to inclusion of older samples for sequencing (for example samples with January 2022 collection dates), which resulted a notable increase in the proportion of BA.1.

The province also reported 11 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, five outbreaks were reported in long term care facilities. Outbreaks occurred in five personal care homes.

As of May 14, Of the population five years and older, 81.0% completed a series, similar to the previous week.

Among the population 18 years and older, 52.3 per cent had received at least one booster, similar to the previous week.

During the week of May 8 to 14, 16,994 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, of which 262 were pediatric doses and 16,317 were booster doses.

Province announces Paxlovid can now be provided by pharmacists

Effective Thursday, Saskatchewan is expanding Paxlovid prescribing authority to approximately 170 select pharmacies across the province, as well as select physicians and nurse practitioners, significantly increasing the ability for residents to access this antiviral treatment for COVID-19.  

The medication consists of three tablets taken every 12 hours for five days. There is no fee to receive Paxlovid treatment.

Not all physicians will be prescribing and not all pharmacies will be providing Paxlovid prescribing and dispensing. To see a list of participating pharmacies and eligibility criteria visit

The decision to prescribe Paxlovid must consider patient risks, current medications and underlying conditions. Eligibility criteria is fairly strict and residents will be screened by their participating pharmacist, physician, nurse practitioner or through HealthLine 811 to ensure they meet the criteria.

Paxlovid is only recommended for adults over 18 who meet the following conditions; test positive (PCR or rapid test) with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, do not have any medical conditions that would make treatment inappropriate,are not taking any medications that may cause potential drug interactions; and if you are immunocompromised, regardless of vaccination status 70 years and older with designated risk factors, regardless of vaccination status or meet one of the following criteria: have a medical condition that puts you at high risk and are not fully vaccinated or are 55 to 69 years old and not fully vaccinated.

Treatment with Paxlovid must start within five days of symptom onset. It is not a treatment to prevent COVID-19 infection.

If you test positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test or a PCR test and believe you may meet all the criteria for Paxlovid treatment, call a participating pharmacist, HealthLine 811 or a nurse practitioner. Stay home if you are ill and arrange for curbside pickup of medication if possible.