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Sask. flu cases surge as COVID-19 trend remains 'elevated'

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According to Saskatchewan's latest respiratory illness surveillance report, flu season has descended on the province, with a dramatic spike in confirmed cases.

From Nov. 12 - 18 there were 594 lab-confirmed flu cases, up from 42 four weeks earlier — a 1,300 per cent increase.

Over the same four-week timeframe, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases remained steady, with an average of 440 weekly.

The Ministry of Health report spans between Nov. 5 and November 18.

During that time, the number of flu deaths (four) surpassed COVID-19 deaths (five) for the first time this year.

Since the start of the year, COVID-19 has been linked to more than 170 deaths; flu has claimed a total of seven lives.

Over the two-week reporting period, influenza accounted for 42 per cent of respiratory-illness-related hospital admissions, while COVID-19 accounted for 46 per cent — with 236 flu patients and 237 COVID-19 patients.

There were 38 influenza-related intensive care admissions and 19 were related to COVID-19.

The report said the most recent wastewater data showed "sustained levels of elevated (COVID-19) indicators when compared to recent historical measures."

There were 29 COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk settings over the reporting period.

The report said the fall vaccination push that started in September has seen nearly 15 per cent of people in Saskatchewan aged six months and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, fewer than 10 per cent of people under 65 have received a recent COVID-19 vaccine, with the exception of the Saskatoon and Regina areas where the total is hovering around 11 per cent.

Less than half of those over the age of 65 have received a COVID-19 vaccination since Sept. 18, according to the report.

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