REGINA -- The Saskatchewan government says it will return to sending out COVID-19 press releases on weekdays only, with the exception of stat holidays, as numbers continue to drop.

In a release, the government said there will not be a news release published on Thursday, or this weekend, however the COVID-19 dashboard will continue to be updated seven days a week.

The province reported 31 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, pushing the seven-day average of daily new cases to 45.

The province also recorded 60 recoveries, lowering the active case count to 435 – a number not seen since late October.

The new cases are in the Far Northwest (three); Far Northeast (one); Northwest (six); North Central (two); Northeast (one); Saskatoon (11); Central East (one); Regina (two); and Southeast (one). The province said three cases are pending residence location information.

There are 69 people in hospital across the province, the lowest number since mid-November. Fourteen of those patients are in intensive care in the Northwest (two); North Central (three); Saskatoon (six); and Regina (three) zones.

VACCINATIONS

Health-care workers have administered 17,420 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine. As of Wednesday, 724,188 people have received their first dose and 429,532 people have their second shot and are fully vaccinated.

The government said 81 per cent of people age 40 and older have their first dose, as do 76 per cent of people 30 and older; 71 per cent of people age 18 and older; and 70 per cent of people 12 and up, according to the province.

First and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available for anyone in the province age 12 and older.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN

The province said labs have identified an additional 27 COVID-19 cases to be variants of concern, bringing the total to 12,149.

According to the government, the lineage of 87 new lineage variant cases has been confirmed. Of the 7,242 variant cases with lineages identified by whole genome sequencing, 6,675 are Alpha (B.1.1.7); 348 are Gamma (P.1); 209 are Delta (B.1.617.2); and 10 are Beta (B.1.351).