Newly released data from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) show that being vaccinated lowers the odds of ending up with a severe outcome after contracting COVID.
Per 100,000, the ICU rate for unvaccinated people was 3.5 while it was 0.4 for those with two doses of vaccine.
In the month of December, 4,621 cases of COVID were reported to the province. Of those, 65 were hospitalized (1.4 per cent).
-of the 4,621 cases reported in December, 1,368 (29.6 per cent) were unvaccinated or tested positive within three weeks of receiving their first vaccination while 2,804 cases (60.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated. Of the 2,804 cases with the second dose, 250 (8.9 per cent) had comorbid conditions and 159 (5.7 per cent) were 65 years and older.
-of the 4,621 cases, 65 (1.4 per cent) were hospitalized with 31 of those (47.7 per cent of hospitalized cases) unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Of these 65 cases who were hospitalized, two (3.1 per cent) were less than five years of age and 26 (40 per cent) were 65 years and older.
-of the 4,621 cases reported in December, 15 (0.3 per cent) cases were admitted to ICU. Ten of those cases (66.7 per cent) were unvaccinated. Of these 15, no cases were less than 20 years old and the two ICU cases with their third/booster dose both had comorbid conditions.
-Of the 4,621 cases reported in December, seven (0.2 per cent) had fatal outcomes. Of the cases who died, four (57.1 per cent) were unvaccinated. There were no deaths reported in the group with the first booster dose and no deaths among December cases under 20 years of age.
Based on the COVID-19 Vaccination and Breakthrough Infections report for the month of December, COVID-19 vaccinations continue to protect against the more severe COVID-19 illnesses.
*Note that the vaccination and breakthrough analysis for December is based on cases that were reported in December. This methodology has consistently been utilized for all monthly vaccination and breakthrough reports.
In order to maintain capacity for PCR tests, the province changed the guidelines as of Dec. 30 so that people who have a positive rapid test no longer need to follow up with a PCR test unless they fit certain criteria.
That includes experience moderate COVID-19 symptoms, are part of an outbreak situation as ordered by the Medical Health Officer, need a transfer or admission to acute and congregate living situations or those who need surveillance testing because they are immunocompromised (such as chemotherapy or hemodialysis).
Residents can access their PCR test results at MySaskHealthRecord but the province is still using auto-notifications to let people know their results via text.
The online results may be posted earlier and are also the way to access proof of vaccination records.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority continues to use auto-notification for PCR test results for those receiving notifications via text message. Test results may be posted to MySaskHealthRecord earlier and all residents are encouraged to set up an MSHR account for test results and to access their vaccination records for proof of vaccination requirements.
People are also able to pick up rapid test kits at multiple locations in the province. In many cases, local Chambers of Commerce have volunteered to distribute them.
Indigenous Services Canada is supplying First Nation communities.
Everyone is required to self-isolate and notify contacts if they are positive, whether it is by rapid test or a PCR test.
The duration of self-isolation depends on vaccination status and symptoms.
If you are deemed a close contact, you may or may not be required to self-isolate, depending on your vaccination status and symptoms.
All Saskatchewan residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19. All residents aged 18+ are eligible for a third/booster dose three months following their second dose. Certain individuals with underlying medical conditions aged 12+ are also eligible. Information about Saskatchewan Health Authority vaccine clinics and participating pharmacies is available at saskatchewan.ca/covid-19.
Public Health Orders Will Be Enforced
For the weeks of December 27 and January 3, the provincial COVID enforcement team issued a number of summary office tickets for failure to abide by the current public health orders:
SKBuilt Gym, Regina received a fine for $2,800 for failure to mask and a $14,000 fine for failure to check for proof of vaccination or a negative test
Whole Leaf Healing Tree, Regina received a fine for $2,800 for failure to mask
Kingdom Sound Academy, Swift Current received a fine for $2,800 for failure to mask
Sweet Treats Candy Company, Moose Jaw received a fine for $2,800 for failure to mask