Provincial report shows slight decrease in COVID-19 in Saskatchewan

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

The number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan has dropped slightly according to the province’s bi-weekly respiratory surveillance report.

The Number of positive lab tests for COVID-19 decreased from 371 in the first week of January to 242 in the most recent week. Test positivity decreased to 4.4 per cent from 6.9 per cent. The report covers the period of Jan. 15 to Jan. 28.

Cases are largely in the 20 to 64 (45 per cent) and 65+ (43 per cent) age groups.

For the two weeks of Jan 15 to Jan 28, 2023, there were 438 COVID-19 cases (58 were 0 to 19 years; 157 were 20 to 59 years; and 223 were 60 years and older).

Test positivity for COVID-19 in the North Central region was 5.1 per cent. For influenza test positivity was 2.2 per cent.

Saskatoon wastewater COVID-19 viral load remained moderate. Regina and South West reported an increase from moderate to moderate-high in the current week compared to the previous week

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 past two weeks, Jan 15 to Jan 28, there have been 18 deaths in COVD-19 cases, two in the 20 to 59 years age group and 16 in the 60 years or older group.

It is not known how many deaths occurred in North Central over this period. The majority of the deaths were in the 60-plus age group according to the report.

The report shows there are currently 61 hospital admissions and five ICU admissions.

ICU admissions remain stable with an average of eight admissions per week – most were 60+ years old. The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has increased from 5.1 per cent in the previous week to 6.4 per cent this week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions has decreased from nine average weekly admissions in the previous two weeks to four average weekly admissions in the most recent two weeks.

The proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has decreased from 6.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent this week from the previous week.

BA.5 and its sublineages (denoted as BA.5*) are the most commonly detected variants (93.4 per cent of current reporting period), followed by XBB.1.5 (3.5 per cent) and BA.2* (2.5 per cent).

With the exception of Regina, all areas of the province have less than 50 per cent of their population up-to-date for COVID-19 vaccines. Less than half of individuals aged 50+ have had more than one booster dose (47 per cent).

Of those aged five years and older, 21 per cent have received their latest booster dose in the last six months. Only 20 per cent of individuals aged 12+ years have received a bivalent booster dose.

On the influenza side cases are decreasing in the province. Influenza cases decreased each week from 32 in the first week of January to seven cases this week.

Influenza test positivity also dropped each week from 2.1% in the first week of January to 0.6 per cent this week.

No influenza outbreaks in a high-risk setting were reported in the past month. No Influenza hospitalizations or ICU admissions were reported during the week of January 22 to 28.

No deaths due to Influenza were reported in the past month.

The report also included the school absenteeism data. School absenteeism is the proportion of scheduled children who were absent from class due to illness. School illness absenteeism data indicated 4.6 per cent of Saskatchewan students were absent due to illness Jan 1 to 7, which rose to 10.3 per cent in the most recent surveillance week.

As of Oct. 13, 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.