Sask.'s Delta variant cases double in past week
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 case numbers are at their lowest point in 2021, but the threat remains with Delta variant cases doubling in the past week.
"Delta, just like the alpha wave, will likely become the dominant strain at some point in Canada. Obviously, we’re watching it closely and against, the case contact investigation piece is really helping to keep it in check," Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, said.
Due to higher vaccination rates, the delta variant hasn’t taken hold quite as quickly as the Alpha strain during the spring. Saskatchewan has reported 125 sequenced delta variant cases so far, compared to 6,476 alpha cases.
The number of delta variant cases have almost doubled from 68 a week ago.
A similar trend is being seen across Canada, where as of last Friday, there were more than 2,000 cases, an increase of 66 per cent in a week.
"The effective reproductive rate of delta is 1.44, so every 10 people who have delta variant could potentially be passing it on to 14 people, that’s a pretty high reproductive rate," Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiology and community health professor at the University of Saskatchewan said.
Muhajarine said due to the increased transmissibility and more severe symptoms the delta variant presents, it makes getting as many people fully vaccinated imperative to avoid a fourth wave in the province.
"We need to get two doses, not just one dose," he said. "One dose is not going to protect us against the delta variant, only 33 per cent efficacy, whereas two doses will bring us up to 88 per cent."
Saskatchewan is beginning to come out the other side of its third wave, which was largely fuelled by the alpha variant.
The province’s seven-day case average is at its lowest point since Oct. 31 of last year with five new cases per 100,000 people.
The provincial test positivity rate also dropped below two per cent at 1.77 for the first time this year.
"We also know that summer, even last summer as we reopened, we had low case numbers, but we did have sporadic outbreaks throughout the province and I think that’s going to be something we need to be aware of," Dr. Shahab said.
Saskatchewan reported 32 new cases on Wednesday, which is the lowest single day total since Oct. 18, 2020.