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COVID-19: Saskatchewan weekly report shows 5,401 new PCR-confirmed cases

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WATCH: In its weekly coronavirus update, the Province of Saskatchewan said there were 384 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Wednesday, of which 206 were incidental infections – Feb 10, 2022

In its first COVID-19 update since Sunday, the Saskatchewan government reported 5,401 provincial PCR confirmed cases and 22 new deaths between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5.

The government announced last week they would no longer be providing daily COVID-19 updates and would instead release weekly data on Thursdays.

Read more: Reaction mixed after Saskatchewan announces plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions

There were 384 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Wednesday. Of those cases, 206 were incidental infections.

A total of 26 new patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Health officials confirmed 30 new COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk settings from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5.

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Read more: Declared COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan

The north central zone reported the highest weekly rate of confirmed new cases with 539.4 per 100,000.

The seven-day average for new cases was just over 771.

Key metrics including new case counts were already reported to the public because the period of Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 was previously reflected through daily COVID-19 dashboard updates.

Data including the situation this Thursday, for example, won’t be reported until next Thursday.

However, chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab previously stated that relying on a seven-day average several days later is still an effective approach to assessing personal risk – a central principle in the Saskatchewan government’s plan to drop the proof of vaccination requirement on Monday and indoor mask use by the end of the month.

The average person shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the “comprehensive” 15-page weekly summary, according to Dr. Joseph Blondeau, the provincial lead for clinical microbiology with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Read more: Saskatoon proposes lifting some COVID-19 protocols as province prepares to end public health orders

“The data in the report is consistent with what we have expected from the trends that have been seen in Canada, the United States and western Europe,” Blondeau said.

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Daily data also lacks the same weight given the province’s restricting of PCR testing to priority groups, he added.

Before the data’s release, NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili told reporters Premier Scott Moe supported the change to weekly reporting as a way to “hide the information” about COVID-19.

“You can’t trust him with our health. You can’t trust him to tell the truth,” Meili said.

Meili, a family physician himself, said without daily updates, people get a false sense of security about the severity of the pandemic.

Global News requested an interview with the premier, but received a statement attributed to the Saskatchewan government instead.

“The Omicron variant is more transmissible, but less severe, than previous waves and is able to be self-managed in most cases,” it states in part.

“The new weekly report includes more data and analysis for the public and the media.”

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