REGINA - In light of a report from Angus Reid that found two-thirds of parents feel children are an afterthought in pandemic decision-making, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili called on the government to step up and prioritize the health and wellbeing of Saskatchewan’s future generations and expand PCR testing to children.
“With no protection for kids, it's no wonder parents are feeling vulnerable and unsupported,” Meili said. “Despite rising rates of kids under 5 in our emergency rooms, the government has refused to provide access to basic PCR testing for kids. In the birthplace of medicare, parents should not be charged $200 to know what their kids are sick with and what the long-term impacts could be.”
Saskatchewan's latest weekly COVID-19 statistical summary reported an alarming rise in emergency room visits for children aged one to four with COVID-like illness from 67.9 per 1,000 visits last report to 72.6. Currently PCR testing is restricted to at-risk priority populations, though many parents have reported difficulty in securing a PCR test through the public system.
Kira Taylor, a mother anxious about the health of her two young children, contacted MLA Terry Jenson about the government’s lack of support for parents and was told to “learn to live with [COVID].” Speaking at the legislature today, Kira said: “I am feeling very defeated and vulnerable, as I am not sure how to keep my family safe. What are people like me supposed to do?”
The Official Opposition calls on the government to expand access to PCR testing to those who need it, prioritizing children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.