Mowat: Wakaw outbreak latest symptom of a long-term care system in crisis

SASKATOON - With another deadly COVID-19 outbreak in a Saskatchewan long-term care home, the Official Opposition is condemning the government for failing to keep seniors safe. With 42 of 44 residents at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge in Wakaw testing positive for COVID-19 - two of which have already died - the Opposition demands answers to ensure this deadly outbreak will be contained and will not happen again in another facility. 

Premier Moe and the Sask. Party have known the risks this pandemic poses to seniors for months. Their weak response has been a problem for nearly a year, resulting in multiple care home outbreaks in recent weeks,” said Mowat. “These outbreaks are both predictable and preventable. Why did the government ignore the numerous warning signs?”

The Sask. Party failed to act on years of concerns about short-staffing, crowding and infrastructure issues at the Lakeview Pioneer Lodge brought to their attention in CEO tour reports. Six months before the pandemic, the Provincial Auditor condemned the government for its lack of oversight of affiliate care homes, calling for improved accountability, highlighting dismal health outcomes among seniors and calling for the province to start, like Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, to regularly inspect our long-term care homes. Of these recommendations first made in 2017, 5 still have not been implemented. 

“This government keeps doing the same thing and expecting different results. If conditions in our care homes were deplorable before the pandemic, they are downright dangerous now. The question is when will this government actually act to fix the long-term problem in long-term care. It’s time for the government to be accountable and take real measures to protect our loved ones and keep outbreaks out of remaining at-risk care homes across the province,” said Mowat.  

Mowat noted that New Democrats continue to urgently call for key measures to be implemented in Long Term Care, including:

  • A public inquiry at Parkside Extendicare in Regina
  • Hire the 300 Continuing Care Aides announced in the Throne Speech now, not later.
  • Introduce a standard of no more than two residents per room
  • Undertake in-person inspections at every long-term care facility and make the results of those inspections public
  • Implement all the 2017 recommendations of the Provincial Auditor for increased provincial oversight of affiliate care homes