Province announces four more COVID-19 deaths Christmas eve

Data discrepancy also results in 40 previously-cases added to hospitalization count, including nine in ICU, who are no longer infectious but still battling long-term complications

(File photo/Jayda Taylor)

Saskatchewan reported four more COVID-19 deaths Thursday. Three of the deaths were of individuals in the 80+ age group — one in the North West and two in Regina.

One person in their 70s from the North West Zone also died after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

At least 40 residents have recovered from COVID-19 but are still in the hospital battling long-term complications of the illness, including nine who are in the ICU.

The patients are no longer infectious for COVID-19, meaning their case counts were marked “recovered,” but they themselves are still sick, the province said in its daily case update Thursday.

Those patients had previously been counted as hospitalized, but had been removed from the total number of current hospitalizations by mistake. As of Thursday, they’ve been added back into the data.

That means, the province said, the hospitalization number, sitting at 125, was “under-reported.” A press release blamed the discrepancy on changing federal definitions of what constitutes an infectious period. A spokesperson said that change was the reduction of the isolation period from 14 days to ten. When that happened, she said, a data update eliminated those 40 cases from the hospitalization total reported in the daily report. That data entry concern is being fixed.

“These are not new hospitalizations. These are patients no longer infectious for COVID-19, which had shifted them from active to recovered cases, but still experiencing the complications of COVID-19 illness,” the province said.

“ Validation processes are in place to report a complete census of patients in hospital, including ICU, due to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing how these cases are reported in other Canadian jurisdictions.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it is working on a process to ensure those numbers are included in daily case reports. With the missed cases captured, the total hospitalization count for the province is sitting at 165. There are 30 people in the ICU.

The province saw 154 new cases and 655 recoveries Thursday. The active case count is sitting at 3,346.

The North Central Zone has 28 new cases. Of those, 19 were in Prince Albert, The city, defined as North Central 2 by the province, has 200 active cases.

Thursday also marked the latest update in the weekly COVID-19 monitoring report tracking tests and cases in children and youth.

As of Thursday, there are 877 active cases among children and youth in Saskatchewan. The test-positive rate among residents aged 19 or younger was 13.3 per cent.

In Prince Albert, there are 53 active cases in children and youth and a test positive rate of 7.6 per cent. The North Central as a whole has 107 cases in the 19 and under age group.

Local care homes and prisons facing COVID outbreaks

Three local care homes have multiple COVID-19 cases, according to the latest data from the provincial government.

The province tracks positive COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks in long-term care facilities.

While facilities in Regina and North Battleford saw large outbreaks over the past few weeks, the only current care homes with more than two active cases are all in Prince Albert.

As of the latest data available Mont St. Joseph Home had four positive cases as of Dec. 21, Ponts West Living had seven as of Dec. 16 and Good Shepherd Villa had five as of Dec. 11.

Those case counts include residents and staff.

Other local organizations battling COVID-19 outbreaks include YWCA Homeward Bound and two dorms of the provincial correctional centre.

The largest local outbreak is at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, where there were 152 positive inmate cases, including 27 recoveries, as of Wednesday night. A handful of staff members have also tested positive.