Unvaccinated people and those who are behind on their vaccinations account for nearly four out of five hospitalizations and more than nine out of 10 deaths in the Yukon, according to a recent memo.
People who are not up to date with vaccinations overall make up 79 per cent of hospitalizations and 92 per cent of deaths.
The data was released in a June 9 memo to health-care providers. It shows the number of hospitalizations by age group and wave, as well as the total cases reported to Yukon Communicable Disease Control up until May 28.
In total, three children between the ages of newborn to nine; two people ages 10 to 19; 12 people ages 20 to 29; 15 people ages 30 to 39; 23 people ages 40 to 49; 26 people ages 50 to 59; 25 people ages 60 to 69; 22 people ages 70 to 79; and 16 people over 80 had been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
By wave, the total number of hospitalizations for the same period was 11.5 per cent of Gamma cases (69 out of 598), 4.1 per cent of Delta cases (39 out of 957), one per cent of Omicron case (28 out of 2,717) and 8.8 per cent of “other” variants (eight out of 91 cases).
In the memo, the Omicron wave is attributed to cases reported since Dec. 19, 2021. The “other” category counts cases from earlier than May 15, 2021, while the Gamma category includes cases from May 15, 2021 to Aug. 21, 2021 and the Delta category ranges from Aug. 22, 2021 to Dec. 18, 2021.
The data is not broken down by number of doses and booster shots.
The memo is signed by Paul Hasselback, locum territorial medical officer of health, and Jan McFadzen, YCDC clinical manager.
The Yukon government’s online dashboard shows 154 people have been hospitalized and 26 people have died due to COVID-19, as of Aug. 1.
A May 16 response to an access-to-information request submitted by the News said the Yukon’s department of Health and Social Services is withholding access in full to records relating to COVID-19 death-related data beyond the number of deaths, including a request for death-related data broken down by vaccination status.
The News had also requested death-related data broken down by age, location and whether the person died in hospital or in long-term care.
The reason given for withholding the information cites “personal health information held by a public body under its authority and in relation to its function as a custodian.”
The memo advises workers of a shift into “the phase of the pandemic where COVID-19 is becoming an endemic respiratory illness.” It marks a move to self-management.
In the memo, Yukon Communicable Disease Control is continuing to support contact tracing and notification for people who do not have primary care providers and for cases found at high-risk exposure areas during their period of communicability.
Those cases include cases found in long-term care, assisted-living and group homes; shelters; aggregate addiction services including detox and intensive-treatment programs; the Whitehorse jail and the Yukon Young Offenders Facility; acute-care facilities, doctor’s officers and health centres; and in receiving non-urgent aerosol generating medical procedures.
The memo states that while vaccines are preventing infection, severe outcomes and hospitalizations, the emergence of newer variants is lowering the vaccine’s effectiveness in reducing transmission to others.
“There is sufficient evidence establishing a better timeline of infectiousness, with transmissibility rapidly declining two to three days following symptom onset,” reads the memo.
“As such, isolation expectations no longer consider vaccination status.”
The current risk reduction recommendations outline for individuals to stay home when sick, regardless of the cause, as well as to “make informed decisions, to continue with vaccination and to mask when appropriate.”
“These actions will protect our most vulnerable,” reads the memo.
“Vaccination and booster shots are the best way to prevent COVID-19 severe outcomes or illness.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org