The number of people in Saskatchewan that have died as a result of COVID-19 now stands at 174.
This after the province announced nine more people had fallen victim to the virus on Wednesday.
Three of the nine occurred in the Regina zone with one aged 20-29 and the other two in the 80 plus age group. Others were someone in their 60s in the west-central zone, someone over the age of 80 in both the southeast and north-central zones and two in Saskatoon, one in their 50s and another in their 60s.
There are 277 new cases to report to go along with 439 recoveries bringing the active case count to 2,893. The most active cases are in the Regina zone as there are 479 at this time.
The new cases are located in the Far North West (3), Far North Central (1), Far North East (32), North West (18), North Central (40), North East (2), Saskatoon (44), Central West (2), Central East (4), Regina (70), South West (1), South Central (2) and South East (16) zones with another 42 new cases having pending residence information.
172 people are in hospital with 143 getting inpatient care including 48 in Regina and 29 getting intensive care including 13 in Regina.
The seven-day daily average sits at 233. Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer for the Ministry of Health, said there was a dip in numbers, but now COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in Saskatchewan.
He noted how the daily case rate is over 19 per cent per 100,000 population after it was was at less than 15 per cent.
“We need to remain cautious as we were before, during and coming out of the holidays in 2021,” stated Dr. Shahab.
Health Minister Paul Merriman reminded people that the health guidelines will be reviewed in the coming days.
“The current set of public health orders are in place until January 15, which will be the end of next week,” mentioned Merriman. “Early next week, we will be determining whether those orders will be extended or changed. We will have more to say about that next week.”
Updated vaccination plan
Merriman shared on Wednesday that the province’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is proceeding as quickly as possible given the limited vaccines they have received to date.
8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been received in the province with 3,900 in Regina and 4,875 in Saskatoon. 2,069 first doses (109 per cent) have been administered in the Queen City, while Saskatoon has administered 2,407 first doses (98 per cent) administered to date of an eligible 2,437 doses.
Prince Albert brought in 3,900 Pfizer doses on Wednesday which will all be used as first doses. Priority will be given to health care workers as well as long-term care and personal care home residents and staff.
As for the Moderna vaccine, 4,900 doses were received as of December 28 in the following zones:
- 710 Far North Central
- 1,370 Far North West
- 1,450 Far North East
- 1,370 North East
Eligible priority for the Moderna vaccine in these regions will go to health care workers, long-term care residents and staff, and residents ages 80 and up. There will be no hold for second doses with the Moderna allotment being used for first doses.
Merriman said they are getting the vaccine into people’s arms as safely and effectively as possible, but admits the province is limited by the number of doses they have received.
“We could get absolutely more vaccinations done more quickly if and when the federal government provides us with more doses,” explained Merriman.
“The federal government is telling us to expect about 6,800 Pfizer doses a week in the last three weeks of January, and one more shipment of 5,300 Moderna doses, for a total of 30,000 doses expected in January. This is simply not enough.”
He added that this is significantly less than what the federal government promised the province last month.
Residents currently eligible under the vaccination prioritization schedule (health care workers, long term care and personal care home residents) will be contacted by immunization clinic teams with details about clinic locations and requirements when they are able to receive the vaccine. The way people are contacted may vary by community, with more details to come. The province will alert additional priority groups when they are eligible to receive vaccine as allotments permit, according to the priority sequence.
Merriman mentioned that Premier Scott Moe will be on a call with the prime minister and other premiers when he will raise concerns of a slow pace of vaccine deliveries.
(With files from Moises Canales)