5 takeaways from Sask. doctors' latest COVID-19 huddle

·2 min read
A home in Saskatoon offers words of support to front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)
A home in Saskatoon offers words of support to front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)

Doctors working for the Saskatchewan Health Authority meet virtually once a week to discuss the latest COVID-19 key indicators for the province.

The health authority then posts the presentations online.

As Saskatchewan now offers vaccines to all those approved for inoculation, here are five notable observations physicians made Thursday about the current COVID-19 situation in the province.

1) Saskatchewan's case curve is improving, but there's still reason for caution

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)

Saskatchewan's daily new case count and seven-day average are stabilizing provincially, but cases are increasing in some parts of rural Saskatchewan, the north and in Saskatoon, according to Dr. Johnmark Opondo, a medical health officer with the SHA.

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)

Doctors also remain worried about the transmission of variants of concern, which can spread aggressively once introduced into a community.

Speaking of which...

2) The P1 variant hit one area bad

Opondo offered a case study of an outbreak of the highly transmissible P1 variant of concern dating back to Easter, which resulted in 11 first-generation infections, as well as second-generation infections that remain under investigation.

The original carrier of the virus was infectious while attending a family birthday party, a workplace and church services. It's not known how that person contracted the P1 variant.

Eleven other church attendees contracted the variant, and one of them was hospitalized.

More than 134 people have been contacted in connection with the outbreak.

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)

3) The further north you go, the lower the vaccine uptake is

Immunization rates are increasing overall but there are areas of the province where uptake could be better, including the North, the inner city in Saskatoon and Regina and high-risk settings such as daycares, restaurants and industrial work sites.

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)

4) The northwest has the highest test positivity rate

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)

The northwest, which includes cities such as Lloydminster and North Battleford, about 530 kilometres and 430 kilometres northwest of Regina respectively, also happens to lead all regions, by far, in the number of the P1 variant cases. It accounts for 57 out of the 96 total known cases provincewide.

<cite>(Submitted by Ministry of Health)</cite>
(Submitted by Ministry of Health)

The presence of the P1 variant in Saskatchewan is primarily linked to travel from Alberta.

5) Saskatchewan health staff are working crazy overtime hours

This slide says it all:

<cite>(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)</cite>
(Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority)