The provincial government reported three more deaths linked to COVID-19 Saturday afternoon. There have now been 972 deaths linked to COVID since the start of the pandemic.

There were also 1,483 lab-confirmed cases included in the update, with a test positivity rate of 32.3 percent. There were 29 more people in hospital with COVID-19, for a total of 244. Of those, 26 were in ICU, an increase of three.

Saskatoon was the region with the most new cases, with 362. There were 298 new cases in the Regina region. Another 151 cases were reported in the South East, 131 in the Central East, and 102 in the South Central region. The North West region had 77 new cases, 56 in the North East region, 53 in the North Central region, 50 in the South West, 31 in the Far North East, 30 in the Central West, 22 in the Far North West and nine in the Far North Central region.

The new cases broke down by age with 64 in the four and under group, another 132 in the 5-1 age group 160 between the ages of 13 and 19, 552 in the 20-39 group, 439 in the 40-59 group, 104 in the 60-79 group and 63 in the 80 and older group.

Vaccines continue to increase in the provinces, with 1,029 first doses administered and 1,849 second doses administered. In all, 75 percent of the province’s total population is fully vaccinated, with 6.3 percent having one dose and 18.7 percent unvaccinated.

The official count of 972 deaths is being called lower than what it really should be by a professor at the University of Toronto. Tara Moriarty says, based on research into excess deaths and incomplete death reports, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Saskatchewan is seven times higher than the official count.