REGINA — Saskatchewan has released its first weekly epidemiological report on COVID-19, as the province shifts into a new phase of data reporting as part of it's Living With COVID plan.
The report, shared on Feb. 10, includes much of the same data categories included previously on the provincial COVID dashboard, which has not been updated since Feb. 6.
Information included in the first weekly report included data from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, overlapping with the last update to the provincial online dashboard. Hospitalization data covers the period between Feb. 2 to Feb. 9.
During the reporting period, a total of 5,401 new cases were confirmed by a laboratory test. The North Central zone reported the highest rate of new cases, while the Far North West showed the lowest.
Of the 17,115 laboratory tests performed in the province during the reported period, 31.1 per cent were positive.
All of the variants of concern identified during testing showed to be Omicron, with the appearance of Delta variant strains continuing to decrease.
Between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, 63 individuals identified as COVID cases were hospitalized, with 10 admitted to an intensive care unit. Of the 67 cases admitted to the ICU in January, 48 per cent were unvaccinated individuals.
A total of 22 deaths were recorded, with 50 per cent of those among individuals aged 80 years or older.
Vaccination rates continue to stagnate, with 79.6 per cent of eligible residents aged five now fully vaccinated, compared to 79.2 per cent reported the week earlier.
All zones, with the exception of Regina, are reporting less than 80 per cent of their population have received a completed vaccine series — meaning either one or two doses to meet minimum criteria.
The report also included data analysis of pre-existing comorbidities reported by COVID patients, which is a new data set provided by public health.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, 16,429 cases reported having at least one underlying condition, with the most common found to be hypertension, diabetes, lung disease and cardiac disease.
New data on patients who attended emergency departments with COVID-like illness was also included in the report, showing that there were 47.1 patients per 1,000 visiting emergency services while presenting symptoms similar to COVID-19 respiratory distress.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Tuesday that moving forward, he would no longer be looking at provincial COVID data daily, instead considering weekly reports.
“I will only be looking at data, for the most part, once a week [and] I think it will be a richer data set,” said Shahab.
Outbreak reporting will also be scaled down to only include high-risk settings, like long-term care homes or group homes.
From Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, a total of 30 new outbreaks were reported, with 16 outbreaks in care homes and 14 in long-term care homes. This is an increase from the previous week, which reported 12 outbreaks in care homes and 9 in long-term care facilities.
Public health said it will continue to survey the virus, as resources shift to long term management. Weekly reports will be released every Thursday and can be viewed at saskatchewan.ca/COVID-19-cases.