Highest COVID-19 ICU patients to date as Saskatchewan adds 3 deaths

Click to play video: 'SHA no longer testing asymptomatic people for COVID-19'
SHA no longer testing asymptomatic people for COVID-19
WATCH: The Saskatchewan government released new information about testing Tuesday and for those not fully vaccinated, the options become more complicated – Sep 28, 2021

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) continues to reach new heights as Saskatchewan added three more virus-related deaths on Wednesday.

Saskatchewan’s hospitals are currently providing care for 295 patients with COVID-19: of those, 228 are receiving inpatient care and 67 are in ICUs. This is the second most hospitalizations to date.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it’s dealing with “unprecedented” hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 nearly tripling over the last month.

“As COVID cases continue to increase, teams are working hard to move staff to where we anticipate the surge to be in the coming days and weeks,” SHA’s Emergency Operations Centre commander Derek Miller said in a press release.

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“This means some communities are going to see disruptions to their hospital services, including temporary emergency department closures.

“We have already seen facilities experience these disruptions, and we appreciate all those involved for supporting our provincial response to deal with this onslaught.”

SHA said data continues to show that unvaccinated people are five times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people. It added a recent analysis shows the length of stay in ICU is two and half times longer for unvaccinated patients compared to those who are vaccinated.

“Those who are vaccinated in the ICU are typically older individuals with other pre-existing health complications. Unvaccinated patients in ICU appear to only have their vaccination status as the common denominator,” read an SHA statement.

The SHA said it has now made 30 additional ICU surge beds accessible across the province with the month’s early goal remaining to surge up to care for 125 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients while maintaining care up to 50 for non-COVID ICU patients.

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“However, teams are already seeing pressure to try and maintain this level of non-COVID ICU care as demand for COVID critical care grows daily,” read SHA’s statement.

“SHA continues to prepare to care for up to 350 COVID non-ICU patients through Saskatchewan hospitals in response to this fourth wave.”

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Click to play video: 'Saskatoon mother frustrated unvaccinated are crowding ICUs'
Saskatoon mother frustrated unvaccinated are crowding ICUs

The recently deceased who tested positive for the virus include one person in the 60-to-79 age group and two in 80-plus. There have been 685 COVID-19-related deaths in the province to date.

According to the provincial government’s dashboard, there were 394 new cases, bringing the overall infection total in Saskatchewan to 66,737. The seven-day average of new daily infections decreased to 467 from 472 on Tuesday.

Saskatchewan’s active infections have decreased and now sit at 4,585. The Saskatoon zone leads the province with 1,074.

The number of recoveries from the virus has grown by 540 to a total of 61,467.

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According to the dashboard, 3,649 COVID-19 tests were performed on Tuesday. To date, 1,129,719 tests have been carried out in the province.

A total of 1,552,886 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan, the dashboard showed. Of Wednesday’s 394 new cases, the provincial government said 334 were unvaccinated, which included 90 children under the age of 12.

“I cannot stress how critical it is that if you are eligible to get vaccinated, you must do so to protect young children in your household,” SHA’s medical health officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo said in a statement.

“We are seeing more children getting sick with COVID in households where adults and other caregivers remain unvaccinated, and they are getting COVID at home. In the last few weeks, one in five cases in children in Saskatchewan reported were under the age of 12.

“We must take responsibility and create a needed circle of protection for our children who do not yet have access to a vaccine.”

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