COVID-19 continues to decline while Influenza continues to increase 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, influenza has increased and COVID-19 has decreased as has been the trend in recent CRISP reports

According to the new report COVID-19 has decreased in Saskatchewan. The reporting period was from March 24 until April 6. The report was released on April 11.

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 decreased this week compared to the week ending March 30. Testpositivity for the most recent surveillance week remains stable at 4.6 per cent.

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 decreased from 81 tests in the week ending March 23 to 75 tests in the week ending April 6.

In the most recent week, the proportions of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases were highest among those 65 and older (49.3 per cent), followed by individuals 20-64 years of age (45.1 per cent).

Test positivity in North Central is 8.4 per cent for COVID-19 and 13.2 per cent for Influenza.

In July 2023 the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) took over wastewater data from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.

Current wastewater data from the surveyed areas of the province indicate a varied distribution of low tomoderate levels of COVID-19.

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.

In the last two weeks, no deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported. It is not known how many deaths occurred in North Central over this period.

The report shows there are currently 14 hospital admissions and no ICU admissions.

COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased from 47 for the previous two weeks to 34 for the most recent two weeks, reflecting a 27.7 per cent decrease. COVID-19 ICU admissions decreased from four for the previous two weeks to one for the most recent two weeks.

The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients remains stable at 2.3 per cent.

From March 24 to April 6 there were three COVID-19 outbreaks reported in high-risk settingscompared to five in the previous two-weeks

As of April 6, 18.4 per cent of those aged six months and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Vaccination coverage is generally below 10 per cent for ages six months to 64 years, except in Saskatoon (14.8 per cent), Regina (14.5 per cent), and North East (10.4 per cent). For those 65 and older, Far North West (34.3 per cent) and Far North Central (20.1 per cent) have less than 40 per cent coverage, while Regina (59.6 per cent), Saskatoon (56.8 per cent), Central West (51.9 per cent), South Central (50.9 per cent), and North Central (50.3 per cent) exceed 50 per cent coverage for this age group.

Influenza continues to become more prevalent in the province.

The number of positive tests for influenza have increased from 218 in the week ending March 23 to 235 in the current surveillance week.

One influenza-associated deaths was reported in this two-week reporting period.

Influenza hospitalizations increased from 50 for the previous two weeks to 73 for the most recent two weeks. Influenza ICU admissions decreased from 12 for the previous two weeks to 7 for the most recent two weeks.

As of April 6, 24.9 per cent of the Saskatchewan population received influenza vaccine this season. For those aged 65 years and older overall coverage was 59.4 per cent; the highest was in Regina (64.3 per cent) and lowest in Far North Central (41.0 per cent). For those aged less than 65 years the overall coverage was 17.8 per cent; the highest was in Saskatoon (21.6 per cent) and lowest was in Far North West (10.4 per cent).

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines were available in Saskatchewan effective Oct. 10, 2023.

The report also included the school absenteeism data. School absenteeism decreased from 10.5 per cent in the week ending March 30, to 5.4 per cent in the week ending April 6. The majority of schools were not in session last week due to spring break.

As of Oct. 13, 2022 the Ministry of Health launched the community respiratory illness surveillance program (CRISP) report to integrate COVID-19 surveillance and reporting with provincial respiratory illness and surveillance reporting, including influenza.

The report standardizes the epidemiological information required for respiratory illness surveillance and risk management and will be issued bi-weekly during respiratory illness season.