Official Opposition questions for the first COVID-19 briefing of 2021

At 2:00pm today, Sask. Party Health Minister Paul Merriman will join Dr. Shahab for the first COVID-19 briefing of 2021.

The confidence of Saskatchewan people in their government’s approach to the pandemic has been shaken by the government’s defense of former Highways Minister Joe Hargrave and his trip to Palm Springs, which was only reversed after mounting public pressure and a nation-wide scandal. The people of Prince Albert and all of Saskatchewan still deserve a full explanation and a public apology from both the Premier and the former minister.

But there are also a number of pertinent questions that this government must answer for in its day-to-day handling of COVID-19. Families who have followed the rules and done their part deserve real answers.

Our questions:

  • Does the Minister of Health regret running cover for his former cabinet colleague when he stated that “everyone has their own judgement as to what they feel is essential” when it comes to international travel?
  • Why has the government not committed to a public inquiry at Extendicare Parkside despite the repeated calls from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses and others?
  • Why has the province only met its target of 4000 tests per day twice since November 1 2020, missing its target 97% of the time?
  • With dangerously high test positive rates, why are fewer than 2000 daily tests being processed on a consistent basis? 
  • Why did the province change daily COVID-19 reporting from ‘tests performed’ to ‘tests processed?’ 
  • What is the current lag between testing & processing? Does today’s report include tests performed in 2021? 
  • Why was the province not reporting hospitalizations accurately and was the same methodology used in reporting fatalities? 
  • Why has only just over 30% of vaccination stock been deployed to date?
  • Will the province begin reporting vaccination delivery on a regional basis? 

The Sask. Party government was too slow to react to the second wave when it hit Saskatchewan late last year. This pattern of delay cannot be repeated as we enter 2021 and this crucial stage in the fight against COVID-19.