Influenza and COVID-19 both on decline in Saskatchewan 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 decreased in Saskatchewan while Influenza has begun to decline.

According to the new report COVID-19 has decreased in Saskatchewan. The reporting period was from Dec. 3 to Dec. 16. The report was released on Dec. 22.

The number of COVID-19 cases continued to decline for the fifth consecutive week from 496 positive tests in the week ending November 11 to 262 in the current week.

The test positivity for the most recent surveillance week was 9.8 per cent compared to 13.8 per cent at the beginning for the four-week reporting period.

COVID-19 cases were highest in the 20-64 years age group (50.7 per cent), followed by 65 years and above (35.3 per cent).

Test positivity in North Central is 16. per cent for COVID-19 and 14.3 per cent for Influenza.

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

Current wastewater-based surveillance data show a decreasing trend in COVID-19 levels in certain surveilled areas of the province including the South East, South West, North East andCentral West areas. Conversely, sustained and elevated viral levels persist in other areas.

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.

The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients decreased to 6.5 per cent for the most recent week. It is not known how many deaths occurred in North Central over this period.

The report shows there are currently 56 hospital admissions and six ICU admissions.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased from 203 for the previous two weeks to 146 for the most recent two weeks; reflecting a 28 per cent drop. COVID-19 ICU admissions have remained stable at 13 for the previous two weeks and the most recent two weeks.

In the last two weeks, one COVID-19 death was reported. It is not known how many deaths occurred in North Central over this period.

There were 14 COVID-19 outbreaks reported in high-risk settings in the past two weeks compared to 22 in the previous two-week period.

Of those aged six months and older, 17.0% have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine on or after September 18. For those aged six months to 64 years, all the zones except Saskatoon (12.5 per cent) and Regina (12.3 per cent) have less than 10 per cent vaccination coverage. For those 65 years and older, Far North West (31.2 per cent), Far North Central (13.2 per cent), Far North East (39.3 per cent), and North West (39.8 per cent) have less than 40 per cent coverage in this reporting period. All other zones have between 40 per cent and 50 per cent coverage except Regina (52.9 per cent).

Influenza has begun to decline more in the province.

From the last reporting period, the test positivity has decreased in several areas except for North East, South West and South East. Five locations (Far North East, North East, Central East, South West and South East) reported test positivity higher than the provincial average of 25.2 per cent.

There were 13 influenza-associated deaths reported in this two-week reporting period. Influenza hospitalizations have decreased from 286 the previous two weeks to 202 for the most recent two weeks, reflecting a 29 [er cent decrease. Influenza ICU admissions remained stable at 38 for the previous two weeks and 37 for the most recent two weeks.

As of December 16, 2023, 22.5 per cent of the Saskatchewan population received influenza vaccine this season. For those aged 65 years and older overall coverage was 56.5 per cent, the highest was in Regina (61.2 per cent) and lowest in Far North Central (39.6 per cent). For those aged less than 65 years the overall coverage was 15.5 per cent; the highest was in Saskatoon (18.3 per cent) and lowest was in Far North Central (8.8 per cent).

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

The report also included the school absenteeism data. School-absenteeism for the week ending Dec. 16, decreased to 14.5 per cent from 15.5 per cent the previous week.