COVID-19 test positivity increases, 26 deaths reported,

COVID-19 test positivity was up to 11.6 per cent the week of Oct. 16 to 22, according to the latest provincial report.

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Saskatchewan recorded 26 additional deaths from COVID-19 between Oct. 9 and Oct. 22, and the rate of positive tests for the virus also increased during that time, says the latest biweekly respiratory virus update from the province.

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Earlier this month, the provincial government changed how it reports information about COVID-19: it now includes information about other respiratory virus activity, such as influenza, and the reports will be issued every two weeks for the duration of “respiratory illness season.”

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In the two0week period covered, there were 1,154 lab-detected COVID-19 cases. For the week of Oct. 9 to 15, test positivity was 9.8 per cent, but that rose to 11.6 per cent the week of Oct. 16 to 22. During that last week, there were 16 reported COVID-19 outbreaks; the province reports that the number of these outbreaks in high-risk settings have increased.

For the week of Oct. 9 to 15, there were 12 reported COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to the province, COVID-19 hospitalizations have remained in a plateau since the beginning of August at roughly 176 hospital admissions per week and ICU admissions have been at roughly 10 weekly. For the week of Oct. 16 to 22, there were 187 hospital admissions and eight intensive care unit (ICU) admissions reported and 165 hospital admissions and 14 ICU admissions related to COVID-19 for the week prior.

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Provincial data shows the Omicron sub-lineages BQ.1 and BQ 1.1 are increasing, and BF.7 is now being detected in Saskatchewan.

As for vaccinations, with the exception of Regina, other areas of the province have less than half their populations up to date on COVID-9 immunizations, and 40 per cent of people over the age of 50 have had an additional booster dose.

The report also shows there were 18 confirmed cases of influenza during the two-week period measured. The province says nine per cent of the population has received a flu vaccine.

No deaths from influenza have been recorded in the period covered in the report.

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