Saskatchewan coronavirus hospitalizations down to 155, 153 new infections

Saskatchewan’s coronavirus-related death toll remained at 380 with none reported in the provincial government’s daily update.

According to the government on Friday, there were 153 new cases with the overall infection total in Saskatchewan now at 28,344. The new seven-day average of daily cases is up slightly to 156.

Read more: Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The province’s hospitals are currently providing care for 155 patients with COVID-19 — 139 are receiving inpatient care and 16 are in intensive care. This is the lowest number of reported hospitalizations since Jan. 3, when it was 152.

Active cases, which are total cases minus recoveries and deaths, now sit at 1,510 in Saskatchewan, according to the press release.

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The number of people who have recovered from the virus has grown to a total of 26,454 following 136 more recoveries, provincial health officials said.

According to the press release, 3,079 COVID-19 tests were performed on Thursday. To date, 571,393 tests have been carried out in the province.

A total of 22,485 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan, provincial government officials said.

Read more: Feds need plan to vaccinate urban Indigenous people, friendship centres say

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health said on Friday that it’s pleased to see Health Canada’s approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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“We will be able to consider the impact of the AstraZeneca vaccine on provincial immunization plans once we receive information about when the doses are scheduled to arrive and in what amounts,” read a statement from the ministry.

“Saskatchewan’s per capita share of the 500,000 doses Canada expects to receive in March should be about 15,000 doses.

“We can begin preliminary planning based around what we know about this vaccine: it is for people 18 years and over, requires two doses, and is easier to transport and store since it only needs to be kept in a refrigerator.”

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The ministry said the approval will not change the immediate rollout sequencing or timelines in regards to Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

“We remain in Phase 1, focusing on high-risk populations. We anticipate Phase 2 mass vaccinations to begin in April, based on vaccine supply and the completion of Phase 1 priority groups,” read the statement.

-With files from Kyle Benning

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan expanding COVID-19 rapid testing' 1:24 Saskatchewan expanding COVID-19 rapid testing

Saskatchewan expanding COVID-19 rapid testing

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.

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