Saskatchewan reported a record 129 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday.
The single-day total is the largest the province has seen to-date during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over one-third of the new cases are from Saskatoon alone. The previous record was 82, set last Thursday.
The Saskatoon Zone reported 55 new cases Thursday, with the North Central Zone, which includes Prince Albert, reporting 30 new diagnoses.
Of those 30, ten were from the City of Prince Albert (North Central 2) while 19 were attributed to North Central 1. North Central 1 includes communities such as Albertville, Big River, Birch Hills, Candle Lake, Christopher Lake, Meath Park, Paddockwood, Shellbrook, Waskesiu and Weirdale.
While the Roy Romanow Proinvical Laboratory had technical difficulties Tuesday validating COVID-19 tests, resulting in lower-than-expected case numbers reported Wednesday, the total of 129 new cases wasn’t affected by the laboratory catching up. After resolving technical difficulties, nine more positive results were identified, which will be added to the Nov. 6 case numbers.
Yesterday, 2,322 COVID-19 tests were processed in Saskatchewan.
The province’s mandatory mask order for all public, indoor locations in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina comes into effect Friday.
There are 32 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, the second-highest total to date. Eight people are receiving inpatient care in the North Central Zone, while there is one ICU patient in the zone.
The growing number of hospitalizations is beginning to put pressure on the health care system.
According to a story in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, the Royal University Hospital is relocating its intensive care unit to a bigger space, in part due to a growing number of COVID-19 admissions.
Saskatchewan Health Authority executive director for tertiary care Lori Garchinski said the decision to move the ICU to the former pediatric ICU on the hospital’s third floor was prompted by “ICU occupancy issues related to non-Covid patients, along with increased COVID admission,” according to StarPhoenix health reporter Zak Vescera.
“The old Pediatric ICU has more space and can accommodate more COVID positive patients while not putting excess pressure on current staffing levels,” she wrote.
On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Health AUthority said it was looking to expand the number of contact tracers, who inform people of test results and try to track who else may be sick.
An SHA surge plan published in April said 10 cases of COVID-19 would take just 1,450 work minutes to trace, whereas 100 new cases on day zero could take 10 times as long and involve as many as 1,000 contacts.
Positive test rate increasing in school-aged children
Thursday also marks the release of the weekly monitoring report that tracks positive COVID-19 tests in children and youth up to 19 years of age.
In North Central 2, Prince Albert’s zone, there are 11 active cases. North Central 1 has 25.
Province-wide, 211 active cases are in children and youth. The weekly testing positive rate is 3.2 per cent. Initial test positive rates hovered around the 0.5 per cent mark.