The provincial government reported nine more deaths lined to COVID-19 Friday after a database error was uncovered by health officials. The news came as there were 1,233 new lab-confirmed cases reported across the province.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the deaths date back to the beginning of January. Officials learned of the reporting error on Friday after they noticed there had been no deaths reported publicly since January 6th.
“There was a flag that was brought up, that because there were no deaths that were being reported, is there some issue with the data filters,” said Dr. Shahab. “And that’s exactly what was found.”
The issues with the filters did not impact other parts of the provincial dashboard that are updated each afternoon, Shahab detailed. This is due to the new cases going through the lab and hospital systems, not the Panorama system that is used to compile various statistics.
While there were nine deaths attributed to COVID-19, there was also one death originally linked to COVID-19 that was later deemed to not be linked to the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been 969 deaths across Saskatchewan.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also continued to rise in recent days. There are currently 215 people who are in hospital with the virus, and 23 of those are in intensive care.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Shahab stressed people throughout the province should take actions to mitigate COVID-19. This includes getting vaccinated including a booster shot, wearing their best mask when outside of the house and coming into contact with fewer people.
Modelling leaked from the Saskatchewan Health Authority earlier this week shows hospitalizations could reach as high as 500 as the Omicron wave reaches its peak. Shahab noted during the press conference that Saskatchewan is behind other provinces in this wave, and they are seeing more hospitalizations simply due to the sheer volume of cases.
“My own anticipation is that hospitalizations will exceed, at least in acute care, higher than what we’ve ever had,” the CMHO stated during the press conference.
While the top doctor in the province has called for people to do what they can to minimize the risks of COVI-19, Premier Scott Moe has stated he doesn’t see any reasons at all to impose new COVID-19 health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. He noted that there has been no clear evidence that the lockdown measures introduced in other provinces have actually reduced hospitalizations due to the virus.