REGINA — The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health's weekly COVID-19 integrated epidemiology (epi) report was issued Thursday and there are a few things you should know.
Remdesivir available to outpatients
Remdesivir is in the news this week — not because it wasn't already available in Saskatchewan, but because it is now being made available on an outpatient basis.
Remdesivir is an intravenous antiviral treatment for COVID-19. It stops the virus from multiplying in cells which can help a body to overcome the infection and reduce the likelihood that you will require hospitalization for COVID-19. While Saskatchewan has been providing this treatment in hospital, it will be available on an outpatient basis, requiring three consecutive days of intravenous treatment.
Currently, you are eligible if you have a positive COVID-19 test result and:
Are immunocompromised or are 70 years and older with designated risk factors, regardless of vaccination status;
Are 18 years of age and older who are not fully vaccinated (which is 14 days following the completion of a primary, two-dose vaccination series);
Are not in hospital and/or require supplemental oxygen; and
Treatment needs to occur within seven days of a positive test and becoming symptomatic.
Omicron is still the boss
Of the 539 variants of concern identified by whole genome sequencing, 100 per cent were Omicron.
BA.2 is taking over
More than half of all the subvariants identified by whole genome sequencing this week were BA.2. The Omicron BA.2 sublineage accounted for 61.4 per cent of the variants of concern reported this week, which was higher compared to the previous week.
BA.2 was first included in the epi report for March 13 – 9, when it was at 25.9 per cent of the VOCs of concern. Following weeks reported 15.5, 21.4 and 41.3 per cent.
Fax on vax
During the two months period from Feb.13 to April 16, the risk of hospitalization, ICU admission and death was five, nine and seven times higher respectively among unvaccinated individuals compared to those vaccinated with three doses.
There were 417 hospitalizations during the week, compared with 403 the week before, and higher than all of February's numbers. ICU admissions were at 25 for both weeks, lower than February's numbers.