Released on May 19, 2022
Pharmacists Can Now Prescribe Paxlovid
Effective today, Saskatchewan is expanding Paxlovid prescribing authority to approximately 170 select pharmacies across the province, as well as select physicians and nurse practitioners, significantly increasing the ability for residents to access this antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
The medication consists of three tablets taken every 12 hours for five days. There is no fee to receive Paxlovid treatment.
Not all physicians will be prescribing and not all pharmacies will be providing Paxlovid prescribing and dispensing. To see a list of participating pharmacies and eligibility criteria visit saskatchewan.ca/paxlovid-pharmacies.
The decision to prescribe Paxlovid must consider patient risks, current medications and underlying conditions. Eligibility criteria is fairly strict and residents will be screened by their participating pharmacist, physician, nurse practitioner or through HealthLine 811 to ensure they meet the criteria.
Paxlovid is only recommended for adults over 18 who meet the following conditions:
- test positive (PCR or rapid test) with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms;
- do not have any medical conditions that would make treatment inappropriate;
- are not taking any medications that may cause potential drug interactions; and
- if you are immunocompromised, regardless of vaccination status;
- 70 years and older with designated risk factors, regardless of vaccination status or
- meet one of the following criteria:
- have a medical condition that puts you at high risk and are not fully vaccinated; or
- are 55 to 69 years old and not fully vaccinated.
Treatment with Paxlovid must start within five days of symptom onset. It is not a treatment to prevent COVID-19 infection.
If you test positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test or a PCR test and believe you may meet all the criteria for Paxlovid treatment, call a participating pharmacist, HealthLine 811 or a nurse practitioner. Stay home if you are ill and arrange for curbside pickup of medication if possible.
Saskatchewan also provides remdesivir as a COVID-19 treatment. This is an intravenous treatment of at least 60 minutes for three, consecutive days and must start within seven days of symptom onset. You may be assessed for eligibility for Remdesivir through HealthLine 811 only.
Treatment for COVID-19 is Not a Substitute for Vaccination
Treatment for COVID-19 does not offer equal protection to vaccination. Getting your first, second and all recommended booster doses remains the most important intervention to reduce risk of hospitalization and other severe outcomes from COVID-19. Find a vaccination clinic near you.
Weekly COVID-19 Epi Report
Issued Thursdays, the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 integrated epidemiology (epi) report utilizes multiple data sources and includes laboratory-confirmed cases, deaths, tests, vaccination information provincially and by zones, as well as hospital and ICU census trends and distribution of rapid antigen tests. The epi report this week looks at data from Sunday, May 8 to Saturday, May 14, 2022. The hospitalization data is a comparison from May 12 to May 18, 2022.
The integrated epi report can be found online at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-cases.
Summary for the week of May 18-14, 2022
- 6,908 laboratory tests were performed in Saskatchewan reflecting 5.7 tests performed per 1,000 population. The number of tests was lower than the number of tests in the previous week (7,099).
- Less than one in fifteen laboratory tests were positive (weekly test positivity of 6.5 per cent), which is a decrease from the previous week (7.6 per cent).
- 465 new cases were confirmed reflecting about 0.4 laboratory-confirmed cases per 1,000 population, lower than the number of new cases in the previous week (710).
- The majority of laboratory-confirmed cases this week were 50 years and older (54.8 per cent).
- There were 265 new lineage results reported this week. Of the 265 variants of concern identified by whole genome sequencing, 100 per cent were Omicron. BA.2 sublineage is more transmissible compared to pre-variant 2020 COVID-19 and BA.1 sub-lineages but there is no current evidence of increased severity.
- The Omicron BA.2 sublineage accounted for 70.9 per cent of the variants of concern reported this week, which was lower compared to the previous week. A batch of test results dated back to January 2022 were reported this week - artificially increasing the BA.1 and decreasing the percent of BA.2 in the current week.
- There were 22 newly-reported COVID-19 deaths (19 in the previous week).
- There were 27.0 COVID-like illness patients per 1,000 emergency department visits which was lower than the average weekly rate in the previous six weeks (39.1 per week/1,000 visits).
- 11 confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care and care home settings were reported this week.
- As of May 14, 2022, of the population five years and older, 81 per cent have completed a series.
- Among the population 18 years and older, 52.3 per cent had received at least one booster vaccination.
- As of the week of May 9, there have been 434 Paxlovid prescriptions and two Remdesivir treatments provided.
- More than 20.6 million rapid antigen test kits have been distributed in the province. They are easily accessible at more than 600 locations.
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