Weekly COVID-19 reports shows decrease in hospitalizations

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

The weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiological (EPI) report showed an increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for the third consecutive report. Numbers were reported between April 17 to April 23.

There were also 14 deaths reported over this time, a decrease of eight over the previous week. Four of those deaths occurred prior to April 15, but were not reported as COVID deaths until the following week. The remaining 10 deaths occurred between April 17 to April 23.

North Central reported one COVID death. There was also one death reported in the adjacent North West and North East zones, six reported in Saskatoon, three reported in Central East and one each reported in Regina and South Central.

Of these there were five reported in the 80 or older and 60 to 69 age groups and two reported in the 70 to 79 age group and 40 to 59 age groups, five deaths were females and nine deaths were males.

The report shows 409 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a decreas of five from last week. There were 20 individuals reported in the ICU, a decrease of five from the previous week.

Of these 166 were COVID-19 related illness, 231 were incidental COVID-19 infections and 12 patients were under investigation.

The province also reported 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Central from April 17 to April 23.

This was among 829 total cases confirmed in the province. These are only lab confirmed cases and not rapid antigen test confirmed cases.

The 829 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 0.7 laboratory-confirmed cases per 1,000 population.

The Saskatoon Zone led the province with 258 new cases.

The highest proportion of new cases for the week was in the Far North East zone, at 1.3 per 1,000 population. The lowest proportion was in the Far North West (0.2 per 1,000 population).

The proportion of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 0.7 per 1,000 population, unchanged from the 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.

There were 264 variants of concern (VOCs) reported during the week of April 17 to April 23 compared to 539 in the previous report.

Of the total VOCs reported in the past two weeks, 100 per cent were the Omicron VOCs.

As well, 69.7 per cent of Omicron VOC were of sublineage BA.2 which was an increase over the previous report.

The province also reported 22 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.

As of April 23, of the population five years and older, 85.8 per cent received at least one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine and 80.8 per cent completed a series.

Among the population 18 years and older, 51.8 per cent had received at least one booster vaccination.

During the week of April 17 to 23,, 15,711 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, of which 508 were pediatric doses and 14,886 were booster doses..

Province expands Paxlovid eligibility

The province also announced Thursday that effective immediately, eligibility for Paxlovid treatment will be extended to all those who test positive (PCR or rapid test) with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are immunocompromised or 70 years and older with designated risk factors, regardless of vaccination status. 

This is in addition to adults who are 18-54 years of age and are not fully vaccinated with a medical condition that puts them at high risk for severe outcomes, or are 55 to 69 years of age and are not fully vaccinated.

By blocking viral replication, early antiviral treatments aim to reduce the amount of COVID-19 virus the body has to fight but they are only effective when initiated in the first few days of infection.  For Paxlovid, you must be within five days of developing symptoms.

If you test positive on a rapid antigen or PCR test, check to determine if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments now available and contact HealthLine 811 for an assessment.

The Ministry of Health is working with physicians and pharmacists to enable more providers to be able to prescribe Paxlovid.  Details on that expansion will be announced in a public release.

AstraZeneca Unavailable as of April 30

The provincial supply of AstraZeneca vaccine expires as of April 30 and the Government of Canada will not be securing additional doses.

If you are seeking AstraZeneca to complete your primary, two dose vaccination series or for a booster dose, contact 1-833-SaskVax (727-5829) to book your appointment immediately.

Note that all of the vaccines being administered are effective and approved by Health Canada for use and NACI has approved the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada. Anyone who received AstraZeneca is eligible to receive an mRNA or protein-based vaccine for additional doses to ensure optimal protection against COVID-19, unless contraindicated.