Sask. records 16 COVID-19 deaths in 1st 2 weeks of 2023: CRISP report
BQ 1 and BQ 1.1 variants compose 90 per cent of provincial laboratory COVID-19 tests
Another 16 people died from COVID-19 in Saskatchewan in the first two weeks of 2023, according to the province's newest respiratory illness surveillance report.
All the new deaths attributed to the virus were in people aged 60 and up, according to the Community Respiratory Illness Surveillance Program (CRISP) report.
The 60-plus age group also made up most of the intensive care unit admissions.
About 46 per cent of people aged 50 and up in Saskatchewan have had more than one booster dose, the report says.
People aged 65 and older made up 43 per cent of the 260 patient-confirmed COVID-19 cases, followed closely by the 20 to 64 age group at 42 per cent.
There were no deaths from influenza reported in the first two weeks of January.
Subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 make up most cases
In the last weeks of 2022, the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants accounted for 85 per cent of the 112 variant cases confirmed in the provincial laboratory.
In the first week of 2023, the two subvariants made up 90 per cent of the 22 variant cases.
Despite making an appearance in December, the XBB.1.5 variant wasn't found in provincial testing in the first week of January.
XBB.1.5 surfaced through the recombination process — which can take place when someone is infected with different variants of the same virus. The mutations could help the subvariant latch on to human cells and evade front-line immune defences.
RSV continues to affect young children
From Jan. 8 to 14, children aged four and under made up eight per cent of the 260 patient-confirmed COVID-19 cases, but about half of the 149 respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, cases.
The second-highest count of RSV cases were in people aged 65 and older.
Of the 16 RSV cases admitted to intensive care unit, 11 were people aged 19 and younger.