REGINA - Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili called Premier Scott Moe and the Sask. Party government to take emergency action following the reports of nine deaths in long-term care facilities in one day in Saskatchewan due to Covid-19 outbreaks.
“Scott Moe campaigned on the message that Saskatchewan was out of the woods, even though he knew the second wave was coming,” said Meili. “What is happening in our long-term care facilities was predictable and preventable. The government refused to act. And things are only getting worse.”
Meili noted that when the first substantial outbreaks in long-term care occurred in Saskatchewan in November, the NDP Caucus called for an independent review on the state of long-term care facilities and for the Sask. Party government to allocate contingency funds for staffing in long-term care and home care. The government responded that staff would be added - after the budget in Spring 2021.
“We have been calling for an independent review of the struggles in long-term care since before the pandemic hit our province. It is inexcusable that this premier and this government – having the time, the resources and the experience of other provinces to draw on – sat back and delayed as COVID-19 overwhelmed our long-term care facilities,” said Meili. “Families worried about their loved ones deserve better. Families that have lost their loved ones deserve better. The front-line staff that are saving lives deserve better.”
Meili called for four emergency actions to be taken today by the government in order to ensure that the system is not further overwhelmed:
- With reports that the Canadian military is preparing to deploy to the prairie provinces, begin urgent discussions with Defense Minister Bill Blair about what support can be provided in Saskatchewan
- Hire the 300 Continuing Care Aides announced in the Throne Speech now, instead of waiting until Spring 2021
- Impose a standard of no more than two residents per room
- Undertake in-person inspections at every long-term care facility with an outbreak and make the results of those inspections public.