Sask. could hit record high COVID-19 hospitalizations in February: government modelling
Saskatchewan could more than double its record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in February, according to government modelling that was leaked online earlier this week.
Modelling is not a prediction, but projections of what could happen in different scenarios based on different assumptions.
This modelling lays out five scenarios that factor in the doubling rate for the virus, Omicron’s severity compared to Delta’s, reductions in population mixing and the length of hospital stays.
In the first and worst-case scenario, COVID-19 hospitalizations will reach more than 1500 in the second half of February. This does not include patients in the ICU. This scenario factors in a doubling time of 6.1 days, assumes Omicron is 60 per cent less severe than Delta, hospital stays are 25 per cent shorter compared to Delta, and “moderate” mixing takes place.
The second scenario projects hospitalizations peak in mid-February, with around 1,400 patients. This is based on the assumption Omicron doubles every 4.6 days, the severity is reduced from the first scenario for some age groups and hospital stays are 33 per cent shorter compared to Delta. This scenario factors in current population mixing.
If mixing is reduced by 67 per cent for four weeks starting Jan. 19, the next scenario shows hospitalizations peaking around 1,125 at the start of February.
In the best-case scenario, COVID-19 hospitalizations peak at the beginning of February, with roughly 625 in hospital. This scenario assumes Omicron doubles every 4.7 days, the severity of the virus is reduced from the first scenario, patients’ hospital stays last one-third as long as they did for Delta, and there is 67 per cent reduction in population mixing starting Jan. 19.
Data courtesy Government of Saskatchewan.
If there is not a reduction in population mixing, the scenario shows hospitalization numbers could peak in mid-February with more than 750 patients.
Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious disease physician, said measures are needed to reduce gatherings in order to minimize the impact to the healthcare system.
“It’s going to be horrendously painful for hospitals and for all Saskatchewan citizens, basically, if you are going to need any kind of health care services during that time frame,” Wong said.
Saskatchewan’s current record number of hospitalizations is 356, which was set on Oct. 6 during the fourth wave.
As of Friday, 215 people were in hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 192 are in-patients and 23 are in the ICU.
According to the health authority, 89 in-patients are hospitalized due to a COVID-related illness, while the rest have COVID but are hospitalized for other reasons. Fifteen people in the ICU are being treated for COVID-related illnesses.
While Dr. Shahab doesn’t do the modelling, he does anticipate record-high hospitalizations in the fifth wave. However, he said we could see fewer ICU admissions than we did in the fourth wave.
Due to a high infection rate, Shahab said ICU admissions could still reach as high as 75 or 100.
“These projections are on a day-by-day, week-by week basis,” Shahab said.
“The actions we take today can make a difference one, two or three weeks into the future.”
Shahab continues to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, boosted, avoid non-essential contacts and wear their best mask, adding these are the behaviors that could change the trajectory.
The province uses modelling as one tool to guide its COVID-19 response. However, in a statement, Premier Scott Moe said officials are placing a greater emphasis on “closely tracking actual real-time data” from across the country.
“The government recognizes that hospitalizations are rising and will continue to rise for some period of time,” Moe said in the statement.
“However, we see no clear evidence that lockdown measures have reduced hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths in other provinces and as a result, there is no reason to impose harmful new restrictions in Saskatchewan.”
Wong disagrees with Moe’s argument that restrictions do not minimize COVID-19’s impact, saying it is “plainly” untrue.
“This type of narrative from the premier is incorrect and, quite frankly, it’s dangerous,” Wong said.
The official opposition said the premier is “playing politics” when it comes to his decision not to implement gathering limits. NDP leader Ryan Meili is calling on the government to publicly release and mandate Dr. Shahab’s public health recommendations.
“The Premier is ignoring the experts in public health, he’s ignoring the real time data happening right here in Saskatchewan, he’s ignoring what’s happened in other provinces and is about to happen here,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
By now it's as predictable as the calls for thoughts and prayers: A mass shooting leaves many dead, and wild conspiracy theories and misinformation about the carnage soon follow. Within hours of Tuesday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, another rash began as internet users spread baseless claims about the man named as the gunman and his possible motives.
Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.
Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopefuls Scott Aitchison, Roman Baber, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, and Pierre Poilievre squared off in the second official party debate on Wednesday night in Laval, Que.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
Tens of thousands of Ontario residents are facing another day without power as restoration efforts continue following last weekend's vicious storm.
Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, witnesses said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a U.S. Border Patrol team.
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
During an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, adopted siblings Hannah Raleigh of Chicago and Limia Ravart of Montreal met in person for the first time after an ancestry test confirmed the two are in fact related.
A fire in the neonatal unit of a hospital in Senegal has killed 11 newborns, President Macky Sall said. Only three infants could be saved.
The Prime Minister toured the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, which is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
Hundreds of residents in River Park South were left without power Wednesday evening after a pole was knocked down on St. Anne's Road.
The City of Calgary has recruited three people from the commercial real-estate sector in an effort to get a new event centre to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
After a massacre at a Texas elementary school, some are looking into safety protections against gun violence in Calgary's school system while mental health experts are offering advice for difficult conversations about mass shootings.
Those who haven't received their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
If you visit downtown Edmonton in the next 11 days, you might see some strange and unusual sights. Art installations and musical performances are popping up throughout the area as part of Downtown Spark.
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
The body of a missing canoer has been located in northeast Alberta.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Here's what you need to know about the storm cleanup in Ottawa today
Hydro Ottawa is hoping to energize hydro lines in the Merivale Road area today, as the cleanup continues following last Saturday's devastating storm.
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored along the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board says all schools with power will be open on Thursday, but 14 schools without power will remain closed.
The decision to focus on urgent and emergency health care to avert long waits played a key role in B.C.’s current primary care crisis, and the costlier care is compounding the problem.
A social media video that captures the moment a man gets Tasered by a Vancouver police officer is prompting calls for more training for police going out mental health calls.
A judge has refused to grant a B.C. cannabis company an injunction against a man who used a list of email addresses the company accidentally sent to all shareholders against it.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Several of the six aspiring Conservative leaders expressed their opposition to Bill 96 during a French-language debate in Laval on Wednesday night, but others shied away from the opportunity to express their views on the issue.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.
As the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mass shooting moves its public proceedings to Truro, many of the family members affected by the tragedy and their lawyers are boycotting the proceedings over the next week.
Former Chief Anchor Steve Murphy offers a timely perspective on the Mass Casualty Commission and the difference 30 years after the Westray inquiry.
Speaking off-script at an event in Halifax Wednesday morning, Canada's Minister of Public Safety said he was gutted by the latest mass shooting south of the border - the 27th in a school this year alone.
Sault Ste. Marie city council is asking staff to prepare a report on group homes. This comes after Ward 1 Coun. Paul Christian brought forward concerns this week about two such homes.
There are currently a dozen statues at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes property, and all are from the 1950s.
It’s a sign that summer is on the horizon. Farmers’ markets are opening in cities and towns across the north.
New details are emerging about the tragic incident that killed 27-year-old Shelby Humble-Neale on Saturday.
Waterloo regional police say evidence of gunfire found in McLennan Park in Kitchener is connected to another shooting incident in the nearby area of Windflower Drive and Windflower Crescent.
Two 29-year-old men have been seriously injured following a collision in Baden, Ont., with one needing to be airlifted to a hospital outside the region.