Sask. monthly COVID report details 229 COVID hospitalizations, 22 more deaths

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Saskatchewan has reported 229 COVID-19 hospital admissions from June 26 to July 16. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Saskatchewan has reported 229 COVID-19 hospital admissions from June 26 to July 16. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in Saskatchewan after months of decline.

The Saskatchewan government released new COVID data for the first time in almost a month Thursday. It covers the period of June 26 to July 16.

It shows 229 COVID hospital admissions within that time — about 76 per week. That's compared to 67 hospitalizations in the week of June 19 to 25.

The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages are now the dominant strains detected in Saskatchewan, according to the report.

Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, the province's deputy chief medical health officer, confirmed Wednesday that COVID infections and hospitalizations have been increasing over the last few weeks.

The province confirmed 628 new COVID cases during the reporting period, according to the data.

"This is a reverse in trend because in preceding months, up until the summer, we had been seeing a steady decline in COVID hospital admissions," Kryzanowski said.

"That's not a surprise that we're seeing this trend in the province. It is similar to what we're seeing in other parts of the country with a wave of Omicron that is being driven really by the BA.5 sublineage."

The new report says 15 people with COVID were in the ICU over the course of the reporting period.

It also detailed 22 more deaths of people with the disease. Fourteen of those deaths happened from June 26 to July 16, while eight occurred from Sept. 5, 2021, to June 25 of this year but were not previously reported.

Kryzanowski said COVID case numbers are expected to continue to rise in Saskatchewan. While the magnitude of this next COVID wave remains unclear, Kryzanowski said "we may see an extended peak" as people spend more time indoors in the fall and students get back to school.

Calls to 811 and visits to emergency departments for respiratory-like illness have increased, according to the report.

Kryzanowski said it's important for people to be up to date with their booster vaccinations. The province still has not made fourth boosters available for people under 50, but has said it's targeting mid-August to expand eligibility.

Risk of health system collapsing: Nurses union

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) said the health-care system has been overwhelmed by more than two years of COVID, and is now dealing with nursing shortages, burnout and more people who didn't seek care for other problems during the pandemic doing so now.

"We just need to acknowledge that we are in an untenable situation in Saskatchewan health care," SUN first vice-president Denise Dick said.

"If we layer another increase in COVID admissions on top of the system that is already in crisis or in constant stress, that we run a real risk that our system could collapse."

The Saskatchewan government is only sharing COVID data monthly now, so the next report will be out on Aug. 18  and cover the period of July 17 to Aug. 13.

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