North Dakota dramatically reduced COVID-19 numbers, Manitoba is flat, but Sask. is rising

In a little over two weeks since Christmas, Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 numbers have erased all the reductions in new case counts that had been achieved by greater restrictions imposed at the end of November. And indeed, when it comes to seven-day average new case counts, Saskatchewan is now doing worse than its neighbours North Dakota and Manitoba.

While North Dakota’s numbers have dropped considerably, and Manitoba has flattened theirs, Saskatchewan has bucked that trend, with our numbers rising.

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On Dec. 25, Saskatchewan’s seven-day average case count began to regularly exceed North Dakota’s. Except for Dec. 29, 30 and 31, Saskatchewan has had a higher seven-day average than its neighbour to the south. On Dec. 31, Saskatchewan began to regularly surpass Manitoba, too.

On Jan. 10, Saskatchewan had a seven-day average of 289.1 new cases per day, while North Dakota had 171.1, and Manitoba had 170.1. Indeed, Saskatchewan’s seven-day average new case count is now nearly double that of those two neighbours, and is the highest it has ever been.

Saskatchewan had been doing much better than the two neighbouring jurisdictions, especially as North Dakota saw a tremendous surge over the fall, with some of the worst numbers of new cases, per capita, in the United States. But they have since reined that in, not only in new cases, but in deaths. On Nov. 14, North Dakota had 2,278 new cases in one day, and a seven-day average peak of 1,389.1. A month later, on Dec. 14, they had 201 new cases and a seven-day average of 431.4. On Dec. 10, they had just 93 new cases, and a seven-day average of 171.1.

North Dakota peaked at 30 deaths reported on Dec. 8, and a seven-day average of 19.0 on Dec. 12. By Jan. 10, that had fallen to zero deaths on that particular day, and a seven-day average of 1.4.

Manitoba, too, saw a similar surge in late-October, peaking in late-November, when their seven-day average of new cases hit 421.0 on Nov. 29. A little before that, Manitoba implemented a much stricter lockdown regime than Saskatchewan, including cordoning off sections of stores that were deemed non-essential.

By Dec. 14, Manitoba had its seven-day average down to 305.4 cases. By Christmas, Manitoba hit 176.6 cases, and has stayed in a range between that number and 141.3 (Jan. 5), remaining generally flat for the last two weeks.

Manitoba’s seven-day average for deaths have dropped into the single digits as of Dec. 25 and stayed there. From Nov. 27 until Christmas, Manitoba seven-day average of deaths was over 10 deaths per day peaking at 14.7 on Dec. 11. On Jan. 10, Manitoba had a seven-day average of 7.9 deaths per day.

On Dec. 10, Saskatchewan’s seven-day average of new cases just slightly exceeded the previous peak of 288.3 on Dec. 12.

According to the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website for health professionals, “The incubation period ranges from one to 14 days. The median is five to six days between exposure and symptom onset. Most people (97.5 per cent) develop symptoms within 11.5 days of exposure.”

Based on that, five days after Christmas was Dec. 30, when Saskatchewan’s seven-day average bottomed at 152.6. It has climbed ever since. 

As for deaths, over the last month Saskatchewan has had a seven-day average which peaked at 5.1 on Dec. 15, dropped to 2.0 on Jan. 5, and risen back to 4.7 on Jan. 10. Since Jan. 7, based on the seven-day average of deaths, there are now more people dying of COVID-19, on average, per day, than there are in North Dakota.