Saskatchewan

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Sask. climb over 300 for the first time since Oct. 2021

Hospitalizations have grown rapidly in Saskatchewan since the Omicron variant was first detected in the province. 

In total 315 people are in hospital with COVID-19, up 58 per cent from 199 a week ago

The Regina General Hospital is one of several in the province dealing with COVID-19 patients. (Cory Herperger/CBC News)

COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Saskatchewan have reached a level not seen since the peak of the fourth wave in the province. 

On Wednesday, the province reported 24 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, bringing the total number to 315, with 33 of those being in the ICU. 

Earlier this morning, during a Provincial Emergency Operations Centre update, media were told that a total of 74 ICU beds were being used in the province. 

On track for record-setting hospitalizations

Saskatchewan hasn't recorded more than 300 COVID-19-related hospitalizations since Oct. 22, 2021. 

Hospitalizations have grown rapidly in Saskatchewan since the Omicron variant was first detected in the province. 

A week ago on Jan. 19, the province reported only 199 hospitalizations, with 21 of those being in the ICU. 

That means in just seven days the province's hospitalizations have climbed by 58 per cent. 

So far, there's no indication that hospitalisations are slowing down.

The rapid increase in hospitalizations highlights another difference between the Delta-driven fourth wave and the ongoing Omicron-driven fifth wave in Saskatchewan.

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The province is on track to surpass the record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations it reported during the fourth wave, but ICU admissions have remained relatively low in comparison. 

That was on Oct. 6, when Sask. reported 356 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 76 of which were in the ICU. 

As of Tuesday, the province says 109 of the 315 patients in the province's hospitals were not fully vaccinated. 

The provincial government says of the  282 inpatient hospitalizations, 121 are a result of a COVID-19-related illness, while 127 are incident COVID-19 infections. The source of the remaining 34 inpatients hospitalizations have yet to be determined. 

More deaths

Along with the new hospitalizations, the province reported six new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday.

That brings the number of known COVID-19 deaths in Saskatchewan to 983.

According to the province's dashboard, three of the deaths occurred in the 60 to 79 age range while three of deaths were people over the age of 80. 

However, a University of Toronto researcher has recently said the number of Saskatchewan deaths could be seven time higher than the provincial total. 

Premier Scott Moe has disagreed with the analysis of Tara Moriarty, the lead author for the working group of a peer-reviewed study commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, on excess deaths during the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases and vaccinations 

On Wednesday, Saskatchewan reported 1,194 new known cases of COVID-19.

That data is based on PCR tests. The province has discouraged the general public from seeking those PCR tests and instead instructed them to rely on the results of rapid tests.

As a result, the number of new cases recorded is expected to be lower than the actual number of cases in Saskatchewan.

The province reported processing 3,586 PCR tests on Wednesday. 

That gives Saskatchewan, a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 33 per cent. 

The province's rolling-seven-day average of COVID-19 test positivity now sits at 34 per cent. 

Saskatchewan has also reported 1,444 new recoveries from COVID-19.

The new recoveries, along with the 1,194 new known means the number of known, active COVID-19 cases has dropped to a total of 12,448. 

Wednesday also saw the province report a total of 1,846 COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The number of people getting a first dose was 622 while the number of people getting a second dose was 1,244.

84.89 per cent of the eligible population have now received at least one dose, while 78.62 per cent of the eligible population are considered to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

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