COVID-19 in Sask: Top doctor announces more refined data set for hospitalizations
12 additional cases have been announced in the La Loche area, 1 in the north region
A "discrepancy" in the way hospitalizations from COVID-19 are tracked between the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Ministry of Health will be refined to produce more reliable data, according to Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer.
The change was announced by Shahab Friday, as the province announced 13 new cases. Twelve of those cases are in the La Loche area and one in the north region.
There were 19 people hospitalized in the province as of Friday, a jump of seven patients from the day before.
"Hospitalizations overall, and in ICU, is not our primary indicator to keep an eye on the curve but it is a key lagging indicator," Shahab said Friday.
Hospitalizations typically happen two or three weeks after exposure, Shahab said. If a condition worses, it may be three weeks before a patient goes to the intensive care unit.
The newer, more reliable data set the province will begin tracking covers the number of patients who have been hospitalized overall separate from the number of overall patients who have required intensive care.
Shahab said the ministry was counting every hospitalization but not recounting transfers, resulting in a lower number. The SHA's data looks different because it reports based on where patients are presenting symptoms and the hospitalization required, according to Dr. Susan Shaw, chief medical health officer.
Shahab said regional data will be tracked, similar to the way it is for overall cases.
"We do expect to see some increase in hospitalization from the northwest of the province," Shahab said.
Due to the high volume of younger adults contracting the virus in the region, Shahab said the ministry does not anticipate the increase to be significant.
Fifteen people are in hospital receiving inpatient care, while four people are in the intensive care unit.
"Whenever you have an outbreak, you always have a risk of secondary transmission to the more vulnerable .... so we want to be able to track that more closely, as well," Shahab said.
Active cases rises to 203
Twelve of the 13 cases announced Friday are in the La Loche area. The other was in the north region, bringing overall cases up to 544.
The total number of cases in the province has risen to 544 overall since the novel coronavirus was first detected. There are currently 203 active cases.
The provincial breakdown indicates that 138 cases are linked to travel and 260 to mass gatherings.
There are 56 cases with no known exposure, a sign of community transmission. There are 90 cases currently under investigation by the SHA.
The province has now completed 35,176 tests, including 815 performed on Thursday.