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Five things to know about this week's epi report

“COVID-like illness” the new touchstone in statistics
omicron vial
There were 400 new lineage results reported this week. Of the 400 variants of concern identified by whole genome sequencing, all were Omicron.

REGINA — This week's integrated epidemiology situation report was released Thursday. Here are some highlights you should know about.

It's not just COVID anymore

While the public tends to think of it as the COVID report, the provincial government's weekly integrated epidemiology situation report — or epi report as it is now called — includes information on “COVID-like illness,” or CLI, which included other respiratory illnesses as well. This week's provincial rate of 25.7 CLI patients per 1,000 emerency department visits was notably lower than the six-week average of 35.2.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) had a 14 per cent lab test positivity rate compared to entero and rhino viruses (17.0 per cent) and influenza (1.0 per cent).

Those results are with six of 13 zones submitting data this week.

Deaths are down

There were 20 newly-reported COVID-19 deaths, about 39 per cent lower than in the previous week's count of 33.

The numbers may be deceiving since, for example, 16 of this week's reported number of 20 are known to have happened during the week, but others may have happened in earlier weeks. — just as only 14 of last week's 33 were known to have happened during that particular week.

Deaths may be delayed getting reported to public health for a variety of reasons including staffing, work load, and deaths requiring further investigation.

Omicron is still the boss

There were 400 new lineage results reported this week. Of the 400 variants of concern identified by whole genome sequencing, all were Omicron.

The Omicron BA.2 sublineage (the “stealth” variant) accounted for 15.5 per cent of the VOCs reported this week, a decrease from 25.9 per cent the previous week.

Hospital cases easing

Since the new epi reports started in January, there have now been eight weeks of stats to track, and those stats indicate hospitalizations are going down, as are ICU admissions. Week one of the epi report saw 383 hospitalizations, with 40 of those admissions to ICU. Weeks two and three went up, but stats have trended downward since then with 324 admissions this week, and 21 ICU admissions.

The average daily admission rate has gone from 35.9 to 23 from week one to week eight.

Fewer tests, fewer “cases”

There are fewer new cases being reported, down from 5,401 in week one of the new epi report, to 1,196 in this, week eight. Bear in mind, however, that these statistics reflect only laboratory confirmed results. Laboratory testing has dropped from 17,115 to 7,449 while the distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests for self-monitoring has been ramped up.

To make things even more vague, there are no “active case” statistics anymore due to this change in testing and reporting.

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