Province transitioning to monthly COVID-19 reporting

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

The Saskatchewan government will discontinue weekly COVID-19 reporting in favour of monthly announcements.

The province made the announcement on Thursday, June 23. Officials said COVID-19 surveillance indicators suggest a decreasing trend in COVID-19 infections.

The Ministry and health sector partners will continue to monitor COVID-19 surveillance data and the frequency of reporting may be adjusted in the future based on observed trends.

“Saskatchewan residents should continue to do their own personal risk assessment over the summer,” Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said in a release.

“They should continue considering using a mask and improving ventilation if hosting a crowded indoor event; or better still, spend time outdoors during our great Saskatchewan summer.”

“We will continue to ensure that people have access to information on a monthly basis through detailed public health analysis and more frequent reporting if concerning trends emerge.”

Shahab also urged residents to get a booster dose if they are eligible. This includes everyone 12 and older who are four months past the date of their second dose. Residents ages 50 and older can get a second booster four months after their first one. Shahab also urged unvaccinated residents to get their first and second dose.

The last weekly report will be released on June 30. A report containing data from June 26 to July 16 will be released on July 21. Regular monthly reporting will begin on Aug. 18 (with a reporting period of July 17 to August 13). 

There will no longer be a news release announcing the release of the report. The epidemiological report will continue to be released at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays monthly and will be posted on the Government of Saskatchewan website.

The weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed a continuing trend of decreases in hospitalizations related to COVID-19, as well as an increase in overall cases. The numbers reported cover June 12 to June 18.

There were also 12 deaths reported over this time, a decrease of five over the previous report. Nine of those deaths occurred prior to June 12, but were reported this week. The remaining three deaths occurred between June 12 to June 18.

North Central reported no COVID deaths during this period.

There were five deaths reported in Saskatoon, three in the South East zone, two in Regina and one each reported in the Central East and South Central zones.

Of these there were eight reported in the 80 or older age group and four in the 70 to 79 age group. Of these six were female and six were male.

The report shows 157 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a decrease of eight from last week. There were five individuals reported in the ICU, a decrease of one over the previous week.

Of these 46 were COVID-19 related illness, 108 were incidental COVID-19 infections and three 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 six times more likely to die than people who were vaccinated with three doses when adjusted for age.

The province also reported 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from June 12 to June 18.

This was among 231 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.

The 231 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 33 laboratory-confirmed cases per 100,000 population.

The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 74 new cases.

The highest proportion of new cases for the week wasin the Far North Central zone, at 38 per 100,000. The lowest proportion was in Far North East zone at 4 per100,000.

The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 33 per 100,000 population, which is identical to 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.

Due to a sequencing database issue no variants of concern (VOCs) data was available for the week.

The province also reported four new outbreaks in Long Term Care, care homes and personal care homes. There were no new outbreaks reported in the North Central zone in the reporting period.

All four outbreaks were reported in long term care facilities. T

As of June 18, of the population five years and older, 86.0 per cent had received at least one dose and 81.1 per cent completed a series, unchanged from the previous week

Among the population 18 years and older, 52.7 per cent had received at least one booster, similar to the previous week.

During the week of June 12 to 18, 2022, 4,141 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, of which 192 were pediatric doses and 3,714 were booster doses.