Hospitalizations decline for second straight week in COVID-19 report

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

The weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed a decrease in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for the second consecutive report. Numbers were reported between April 24 to April 30.

There were also 14 deaths reported over this time, the same number as the previous week. Four of those deaths occurred prior to April 15, but were not reported as COVID deaths until the following week. The remaining 10 deaths occurred between April 24 to April 30.

North Central reported one COVID death. There was also one death reported in the adjacent North West zone, five reported in Saskatoon, two reported in the South Central, Central East and Regina and one death reported in the South East.

Of these there were five reported in the 80 or older age group, three were reported in the 70 to 79 age group, four were reported in the 60 to 69 age group and one each were reported in the 40 to 59 age group and 20 to 39 age group. Of these, six were female and eight were male.

The report shows 390 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a decrease of 19 from last week. There were 20 individuals reported in the ICU, the same number as the previous week.

Of these 135 were COVID-19 related illness, 237 were incidental COVID-19 infections and 18 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 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from April 24 to April 30.

This was among 766 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.

The 766 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 0.6 laboratory-confirmed cases per 1,000 population.

The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 268 new cases.

The highest proportion of new cases for the week was in the Saskatoon and the Central East zones, both at 0.8 per 1,000 population. The lowest proportion, in zones with positive cases, was in the Far North East and the North East zones, both at 0.2 per 1,000 population.

The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 0.6 per 1,000 population, unchanged from the 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 572 variants of concern (VOCs) reported during the week of April 17 to April 23 compared to 264 in the previous report.

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

As well, 83.4 per cent of Omicron VOC were of sublineage BA.2, which was an increase over the previous report.

The province also reported 17 new outbreaks in Long Term Care, care homes and personal care homes. There were three new outbreaks reported in the North Central zone in the reporting period.

Of these, 10 outbreaks were reported in long term care facilities. Outbreaks occurred in two personal care homes and five in group homes.

As of April 30, of the population five years and older, 85.8 per cent received at least one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine and 80.9 per cent completed a series.

Among the population 18 years and older, 52 per cent had received at least one booster vaccination.

During the week of April 24 to 30, 25,103 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, of which 377 were pediatric doses and 24,379 were booster doses.