Saskatchewan's latest COVID-19 numbers concerning for one health expert | – Global News

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Summer has come and gone, and winter will soon rear its ugly head in Saskatchewan.
Along with it comes flu and cold season, along with increased transmission of COVID-19.
The province’s latest COVID-19 report includes data concerning the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) interim senior medical health officer, Dr. Cory Neudorf.
Read more: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Sask. parents still a top concern, epidemiologist says
“As we enter winter here and respiratory virus season and we start to see COVID making a bit of a resurgence. With this next wave, we could be in for a really rough winter unless more people come out for their boosters,” said Neudorf.
The report contains data between Oct. 2-8.  It shows only 3.6 per cent of individuals aged 18-plus have received a bivalent booster. They were expanded to those 18-plus as of Sept. 29.
Neudorf says he believes fatigue could play a factor as to why booster rates are low in the province, but also the need for regular boosters may not have been properly communicated initially.
“I think people have to start getting used to this idea that this virus continues to mutate and find its way around our immune system, and so updates of the vaccine are likely going to be necessary, at least into the coming next few years,” said Neudorf.
In a statement to Global News, the Ministry of Health said all residents are advised to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations to protect against severe illness and hospitalization as soon as they’re eligible.
“Vaccination remains the best protection against severe outcomes of COVID-19 infection.” the statement said.
“This has been the consistent message from the Ministry of Health since early 2021 when immunization first became available. ”
The ministry says paid advertisements have appeared on social media, in regional print publications, on billboards and theatres to help communicate the importance of protecting against the virus.
“The public should be aware that even if you test negative for COVID-19, you could still be contagious and potentially spreading other respiratory illnesses. It remains important residents take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.” the statement said.
Another statistic Neudorf is keeping an eye on is the number of staffed beds in hospitals occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Read more: COVID-19: Saskatchewan cities reach highest wastewater viral loads in nearly 4 months
He says during previous waves of the pandemic, a lot of the normal demand for those beds were delayed, as COVID-19 patients made a higher number of that total.
“As the rest of the system has had to catch up and getting more back into the normal level of pressure, any COVID patients that come in add to that strain,” he said.
The SHA did not respond to a request to comment by deadline.
Test positivity in the province decreased from 11 per cent in the previous reporting period to 9.3 per cent across the province. The highest test positivity rate was 13.5 per cent in the Southeast zone (Weyburn/Estevan area).
Along with positivity, confirmed deaths have also slightly decreased, both predominantly among those 60 years of age and older.
The health ministry says people should continue to self-monitor for symptoms, stay home if you are unwell, and consider wearing a mask in indoor crowded spaces or areas with poor ventilation.
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