Saskatchewan reconciling under-reported coronavirus hospitalizations, 4 more deaths

Four more people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, bringing Saskatchewan’s total up to 134.

Three of the recently deceased were in the 80-plus age group, with one reported in the north west zone and two in Regina, according to a press release. The other was in their 70s and in north west.

Read more: Saskatchewan families grapple with COVID-19 deaths over holidays

Health officials said there were 154 new cases of the coronavirus in the daily update on Thursday, with the overall total for the province growing to 14,255 since the first case was reported in March. They added that the new seven-day average of daily cases is down to 203.

According to a press release, most of the new cases are located in the Saskatoon zone with 30, while there are 28 in north central, 25 in Regina, 17 in north west, 14 in far north east, 10 each in far north west and central east, three each in north east, south central and south east, and two in central west. Residence information is still pending for nine new infections.

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The provincial government announced on Thursday that Saskatchewan has been updating its definitions of the COVID-19 infectious period to align nationally and this correction resulted in hospitalizations being under-reported in the daily report.

“As of December 22, 2020, there were an additional 40 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including nine in ICU, who have been receiving care, resulting in the reported case number of 165,” read a statement.

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“These are not new hospitalizations. These are patients no longer infectious for COVID-19, which had shifted them from active to recovered cases, but still experiencing the complications of COVID-19 illness.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is working on a process to ensure these numbers are included in the daily case reports and validation processes are in place to report a complete census of patients in hospital due to COVID-19, read the statement.

Read more: Inmates, organizations concerned as COVID-19 takes hold in Saskatchewan Penitentiary

Officials said 655 more people have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 10,775.

There are currently 3,346 active cases in the province, health officials said. Active cases are total cases less recoveries and deaths.

According to the press release, 2,394 COVID-19 tests were performed on Wednesday in Saskatchewan. To date, 415,541 tests have been carried out in the province.

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Provincial government officials said 1,786 vaccinations were completed up to Wednesday as part of the pilot program in Regina and as part of the vaccine delivery plan’s first phase in Saskatoon.

The government said its provincial COVID-19 updates will not be available on Dec. 25, 26 and 28 and Jan. 1, 2021. They added case information from those dates will be included in the next scheduled posting.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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