Saskatchewan health officials reported Friday that the province had confirmed five additional cases of the B1617 variant of concern, the same highly-transmissible variant that has fuelled a surge in COVID-19 cases in India.
The province identified its first five cases of B1617 late last week, with two more following earlier this week and five more announced on Friday, bringing the total to 12. Five of those cases are in Regina and five are in Saskatoon.
Officials announced a total of 173 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, more than the current seven-day average of 162 new cases per day, or 13.2 new cases per 100,000 people, according to the province's latest update.
Two more people have died from the illness: a person in their 70s from the far northeast and a person aged 80 or over from the northwest region.
The number of known active cases province-wide is 1,776, down from 2,075 one week ago.
Saskatoon continues to lead the province in new cases with 34 more infections, with 30 in Regina and 25 in the central east being the next most.
There are 132 infected patients in hospital, including 25 people in intensive care. One week ago, on May 13, there were 149 people in hospital, including 34 in ICU.