Here's a breakdown of COVID-19 hospitalizations, case data from August

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health is reinforcing the use of COVID-19 vaccines as the best defense against the virus, citing hospitalization and case data from August.

The report comes as case numbers continue to rise in Saskatchewan. The government reported 305 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average to 350 – or 29.1 per 100,000 people. This is the highest seven-day average reported to date.

Out of the 189 people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in August, 150 – or 79.4 per cent – were unvaccinated or tested positive within three weeks of receiving their first dose. Fourteen cases, or 7.4 per cent, were partially vaccinated with one dose, and 39 cases, 20.6 per cent, were fully vaccinated.

Forty-one Saskatchewan residents were treated for COVID-19 in intensive care with 33 – or 80 per cent – unvaccinated or testing positive within three weeks of their first dose. Two cases, 4.9 per cent, were partially vaccinated with one dose and eight cases, 19.5 per cent, were fully vaccinated.

Of the 4,596 new cases reported last month, 3,840 cases, were unvaccinated or tested positive within three weeks of receiving their first dose. Four hundred and twenty-four cases were partially vaccinated with one dose, 756 cases were fully vaccinated. 

Twenty-two Saskatchewan residents died of COVID-19 in August. Twelve were unvaccinated.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health cited underlying health issues and age as factors that contribute to COVID-19 outcomes.

Of the fully vaccinated people who got COVID-19 in August, 17.6 per cent (133) had comorbid conditions.

Fourteen hospitalized cases with a first dose, 42.9 per cent, had existing health conditions and 21.4 per cent were 70 years or older.

Thirty-nine hospitalized cases with a second dose, 56.4 per cent, had existing health conditions and 69.2 per cent were 70 years and older.

However, other age groups continue to see significant COVID-19 symptoms. Twenty-three, a quarter of the 94 infectious COVID-19 patients in acute care, were younger than 40.

CHILD AGE BREAKDOWN OF HOSPITALIZATIONS

Seventeen per cent of Saskatchewan’s new cases in August were children aged 11 and younger.

Of the 189 individuals who were hospitalized, 5.3 per cent – or 10 cases – were aged 19 years or younger and 3.2 per cent – or six cases – were under 12 with one patient under 12 admitted to ICU.

GETTING VACCINATED

There is no COVID-19 vaccine available for children under 12.

“Transmissible diseases like COVID-19 are opportunistic: they will spread to and among under- and unvaccinated populations. It's critical that all eligible Saskatchewan residents get vaccinated,” the ministry said in a news release.

Moderna and Pfizer shots are both Health Canada-approved for use in people over 12. Eleven-year-olds who will turn 12 before Dec. 31, 2021, are also eligible to be vaccinated.

While the province says two standard vaccine doses provide "optimal protection" from COVID-19, the province will begin offering booster shots for eligible populations.

The eligible groups include residents of long-term care and personal care homes, transplant recipients, people undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Letters are in the mail for eligible recipients, who are asked to use the letter as proof of eligibility. Additional populations will become eligible in the coming weeks.