COVID-19 in Sask.: Record 410 patients in hospital as of Wednesday
42 deaths related to COVID-19 during the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12
Saskatchewan's second weekly report of COVID-19 data shows a record 410 patients in hospital with the illness.
Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan government stopped providing daily updates publicly and now releases weekly reports on Thursdays.
The first report showed 384 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Feb. 9 — matching a previous record from Feb. 3.
Most of the data the government provided in the latest summary covers the period from Feb. 6-12.
The exception is the number of hospitalizations, which was current as of Wednesday at noon.
At that point, there were 410 people in hospital with COVID-19. Of those:
- 181 were admitted for COVID-19.
- 221 have been determined "incidental" cases, meaning they were not admitted for COVID-19 but then tested positive for the illness.
- Eight are undetermined.
There were 33 people in intensive care with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, up seven from the last report.
The province reported 42 deaths during the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the past five days has not yet been reported.
There were 2,522 new COVID-19 cases reported in the week from Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, based on the results of 12,079 PCR tests. That number is likely a significant undercount of the actual number of new cases in the province, due to limited PCR testing and the fact results from rapid antigen tests are not included.
During the week of Feb. 6-12, 18,563 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered, including 2,852 pediatric doses and 11,051 booster doses.
The latest report says 55.3 per cent of children age five to 11 have received at least one vaccine dose, while 34.7 per cent have received two doses.
New type of risk communication
The Saskatchewan Health Authority's interim senior medical health officer says he thinks the switch to weekly reporting is "a bit premature," but that it eventually had to happen — especially given the prevalence of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.
"The reality is the changes in the way that both this particular variant transmits and the testing that we've been able to do means that daily reporting of confirmed cases really doesn't give the same meaning anymore," said Dr. Cory Neudorf, who is also a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan.
"So it's almost more damaging to give daily reports of cases now," he told CBC News on Thursday.
- Omicron surge may have plateaued but hospitals caring for highest number of COVID patients, Sask. doctors told
Daily review of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths is needed, he said.
But that should happen within the health-care system to assess how stressed it is, and to inform decisions on what services health-care workers can or can't deliver.
That kind of information is available internally, Neudorf said.
Local medical health officers are currently looking at how to better communicate the risk of COVID-19 to the public, he said.
"We've trained everybody in a way to be looking daily at these case numbers and all these other metrics. And we need to switch now," said Neudorf.
"This wave will pass and we'll undoubtedly get future waves of COVID as well, but there will be other things, other respiratory pathogens as well. And we should be taking a consistent approach going forward to how we communicate to the public."
Neudorf says medical health officers have to rely on other indicators such as absenteeism in schools and workplaces, wastewater surveillance and sentinel surveillance.
The latter involves public health working with individual physician practices or emergency departments to screen people that have respiratory illnesses and do testing in a subset of people.
Public health will share "risk thresholds" to inform people about the level of circulation in the community and how much precaution people should be taking, Neudorf said.
He says this new type of risk communication will be available in the coming days and weeks.
With a file from Jessie Anton
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?