Saskatchewan reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in the province since early August on Saturday — but the unusually low number could be due to network issues, the province said.
At the same time, federal data shows Saskatchewan continues to lead the nation in death rates from the illness.
Saskatchewan's online COVID-19 dashboard reported 53 new cases on Saturday — a drop of 69 from the 122 cases reported Friday and the lowest number since Aug. 3, when there were 25 new cases.
However, a note from the province said a "network issue" led to an incomplete transfer of test data to the provincial database for Saturday.
Those numbers not included in the province's most recent update are expected to be added on Sunday.
More than one in four new cases are in people under 12 and ineligible for vaccination.
COVID-19 in Saskatchewan by the numbers
Of the new cases found in people eligible for vaccination, almost one in three cases were in people who were fully vaccinated.
The number of active cases in the province reported Saturday also dropped, with 1,324 reported.
Although data issues may have led to the particularly low case count Saturday, new daily case numbers have continued to trend downward over the past week.
Neighbouring Manitoba now has the highest running seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people, with 84 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven-day period, compared to 79 in Saskatchewan, according to the most recent government of Canada daily epidemiology update.
For now, however, Saskatchewan still has a higher 14-day case rate (172 per 100,000) than Manitoba (146).
Despite Saskatchewan's downward trend in new cases, the province still has the worst death rate in the country.
As of Friday, Saskatchewan had a rate of 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people over the past seven days, and 3.8 per 100,000 over the last 14 days.
There were two new deaths reported in Saskatchewan on Saturday, bringing the total to 893.
The new cases reported contribute to the total of 79,387 recorded since the pandemic began.
The cases were reported in the following health zones:
Far northwest: three.
North central: three.
Central west: one.
Central east: 14.
South west: one.
South central: two.
Residence information was pending for four other cases.
The province recorded 168 people in hospital with the illness — about 50 per cent of the number a month ago, with 337 COVID-19 patients in hospital on Oct. 13.
The current number includes 48 patients in Saskatchewan intensive care units. Another 12 Saskatchewan patients, not included in the province's hospital data, are in Ontario ICUs.
Vaccines in Saskatchewan
Another 815 new COVID-19 vaccines doeses have been administered, according to the province's update on Saturday.
The 258 first doses and 557 second doses bring the province's total to 1,698,068 shots.
Percentage of eligible Saskatchewan residents by vaccine dose
On Nov. 11, Saskatchewan had reached 80 per cent of its eligible population being fully vaccinated. More than 86 per cent have received at least one shot.