COVID-19: Booster shot uptake rises in Sask. as province adds 829 new cases, 14 deaths

There were 829 new COVID-19 cases confirmed last week in Saskatchewan with 231 cases found in the Saskatoon zone and 141 in the Regina zone. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Saskatchewan’s latest COVID-19 report shows more people are signing up to get their second COVID-19 booster shots.

The Ministry of Health stated in its report on Thursday that 13,206 second booster shots, or fourth doses, were administered last week, an increase of 8,138 over the week before.

In terms of first booster shots, 14,886 were given last week.

This comes after the province expanded second booster eligibility to residents aged 50 and older on Tuesday.

Read more: Another Saskatchewan resident brings story of surgery delay to legislature

There were also 829 new cases confirmed last week in the province, according to the provincial government report.

The report states 6,951 COVID-19 laboratory tests were completed from April 17-23 for a weekly test positivity rate of 11.7 per cent, a number which is unchanged from last week.

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The number of tests was lower than the number of tests in the previous week which was 7,354.

The new case total does not include rapid antigen test results.

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The Omicron BA.2 sublineage accounted for 69.7 per cent of the variants of concern reported, an increase compared to the previous week.

It was the Saskatoon zone that reported the most new cases last week with 231, followed by Regina with 141 new cases.

Other zones that recorded cases were the central east (92), southeast (72), south central (55), northwest (47), north central (44), far northeast (31), central west (26), northeast (23), southwest (16), far northwest (six) and far north central (two).

Read more: Saskatchewan expands second booster eligibility to those aged 50 and up

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Forty-three cases were pending their results.

In addition, 14 more Saskatchewan residents died after testing positive for COVID-19. This pushed the provincial death total to 1,310 as of last Saturday.

Six of the deaths were reported in the Saskatoon area, three in the central east and one in each of the Regina, south central, northwest, northeast and north central regions.

As for the status of Saskatchewan’s hospitals, 409 people are hospitalized after contracting the virus. This includes 231 incidental infections, 166 COVID-19-related illnesses and 12 cases still under investigation.

Officials add that 20 people are receiving care in the province’s ICUs.

There are also 22 confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care and care home settings.

Paxlovid eligibility expands

The province is extending eligibility for Paxlovid treatment to those who test positive, on either a PCR or rapid test result, with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are immunocompromised or 70 years of age and older.

Read more: Could Paxlovid help treat long COVID? Here’s what we know

Residents aged 70 and older must have designated risk factors, regardless of their vaccination status.

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This is in addition to residents who are 18 to 54 and are not fully vaccinated with a medical condition that puts them at high risk for severe outcomes or those 55 to 69 who are not fully vaccinated.

AstraZeneca supply running low

The Saskatchewan government says the province’s supply of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will expire as of April 30.

In addition, the federal government will not be securing more AstraZeneca doses.

For people wanting to get an AstraZeneca dose to complete their primary, two-dose vaccination series or as a booster dose, they are asked to contact 1-833-727-5829 to book their appointment as soon as possible.

“Note that all of the vaccines being administered are effective and approved by Health Canada for use and NACI has approved the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada,” the statement read.

“Anyone who received AstraZeneca is eligible to receive an mRNA or protein-based vaccine for additional doses to ensure optimal protection against COVID-19, unless contraindicated.”

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