The weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed an increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 reported between March 27 to April 2.
There were also 24 deaths reported during this time, an increase of four over the previous week. There were two deaths reported in North Central during that span.
Saskatoon reported six deaths, the North West, Regina, South East and the Central East zones reported three each, and the North East, Central West, Far North East and Far North West zones reported one each.
A total of 16 COVID-19 patients died within the last week. The other eight deaths occurred between March 21 and 26, but were not reported until sometime between March 27 and April 2.
Eight deaths occurred in patients ages 80 and older, five occurred in each of the 40-59, 60-69, and 70-79 age groups, and once was reported in a patient between the ages of 20 and 39. Male patients accounted for 13 deaths, while 11 involved female.
The report shows 354 COVID-19 hospitalizations, an increase of 20 from last week. There were 20 individuals reported in the ICU, a decrease of one from the previous week.
Of these 145 were COVID-19 related illness, 177 were incidental COVID-19 infections and 32 patients were under investigation.
The province also reported 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from March 27 to April 2.
This was among 1,032 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.
The 1,032 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 0.9 laboratory-confirmed cases per 1,000 population.
The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 304 new cases.
The highest proportion of new cases for the week was in Central East zone (1.3 per 1,000 population). Of zones with confirmed cases, the lowest were Far North West and Far North East (both at 0.3 per 1,000 population).
The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 1.0 per 1,000 population, 0.3 per 1,000 population higher 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 440 variants of concern (VOCs) reported during the week of March 27 to April 2 compared to 400 in the previous report.
Of the total VOCs reported in the past two weeks, 100 per cent were the Omicron VOCs.
As well, 21.4 per cent of Omicron VOC were of sublineage BA.2 which was more than previous week. The Omicron BA.2 sublineage is being seen across the province.
The province also reported 20 new outbreaks in Long Term Care, care homes and personal care homes. There were two new outbreaks reported in the North Central zone in the reporting period.
As of April 2, of the population five years and older, 85.7 per cent received at least one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine and 80.7 per cent completed a series.
Among the population 18 years and older, 51.3 per cent had received at least one booster vaccination.
During the week of March 27 to April 2 there were 3,202 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered, of which 680 were pediatric primary series doses and 2,253 were booster doses.
Province discontinuing monoclonal antibodies
Sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody given by intravenous infusion, has been used for the treatment of mild COVID-19 in Saskatchewan to prevent serious outcomes, including hospitalizations for many months. According to the province recent clinical studies have demonstrated reduced efficacy against Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant.
Based on this evidence and the growing prevalence of Omicron BA.2 in Saskatchewan, sotrovimab use will be discontinued in Saskatchewan after April 7.
Future recommendations regarding the use of sotrovimab and early therapeutics will continue to be guided by emerging evidence.
The oral (pill) antiviral Paxlovid will continue to be available to eligible patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Paxlovid is an antiviral medication that helps prevent COVID-19 from spreading in your body and prevent serious COVID-19 outcomes including hospitalization. Treatment with Paxlovid must start within five days of symptom onset. The medication consists of tablets taken every 12 hours for five days. Information on Paxlovid eligibility is available at Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19.