NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on the government to quickly introduce a series of public health protection measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19, protect Saskatchewan people, and limit the strains on our healthcare system.

“This is a global health emergency, and it is here. We know there will be more cases in the coming days, and we need to be doing everything possible to slow the spread and protect Saskatchewan people,” Meili said. “There are several things the provincial government can and should be doing right now to respond.”

Meili called on the province to adopt a series of measures for public health protection, focusing on keeping the public and affected agencies well-informed, rapidly scaling-up testing and providing support for people who self-isolate. Meili called for:

Public information, including information for healthcare workers

  • Daily reports on the number of tests performed and results.
  • A public inventory of key equipment and their current availability.
  • Clear information for healthcare providers on how to manage patients at risk of COVID-19 in the clinical setting.
  • Immediate repair or expansion of the 811 service, or a clear alternate means of personal support for people with questions and concerns.
  • Clear guidelines for clinics, with support in developing these from the SHA. Currently clinics are making novel plans on identification and isolation of at-risk patients.
  • Clarity on social distancing policy, clear guidelines on which cancellation of public events and thresholds for potential closure of schools or other major public institutions.
  • Measures that will be taken to extend testing and protection to high-risk groups, including long-term care residents and people living in poverty.

Testing 

  • At this point, any primary care provider can perform tests, but we need dedicated testing sites outside of clinical settings.
  • Testing sites are planned for Saskatoon and Regina. They are needed for smaller urban and rural sites as well, as we don’t want people traveling for testing and risking further exposure. 
  • Establishment of drive-thru and at-home testing.
  • Clear guidance for the public on when to get tested vs. when to self-isolate.

Support for Saskatchewan workers

  • Clear guidelines for self-isolation for health care workers and people who work directly with the public. 
  • Clear assurances that people who choose to self-isolate will lose neither their job nor wages.
  • Ban the practice of employer-required sick notes for patients with COVID-19
  • Financial support for Saskatchewan people affected by COVID-19.

Meili also repeated his call for the province to postpone the budget in order to present realistic numbers to the people of Saskatchewan and a plan to strengthen Saskatchewan’s economy and protect jobs.