Official Opposition: Rapid test now; vaccinate health care workers ASAP

SASKATOON - Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Health Critic Vicki Mowat called on the Sask. Party government to immediately introduce wide-spread rapid testing in schools, long-term care facilities, and high-risk communities and workplaces.

Scott Moe’s Sask Party government continues to fail to keep people safe and protect the Saskatchewan economy. One of the key tools available to allow safer reopening is rapid testing. Saskatchewan has only used about two percent of the rapid COVID-19 tests that the province has on hand. Recently, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has called for the expansion of rapid testing in schools.

“Scott Moe has spent the whole week insulting health care workers and families concerned about his complete lack of leadership,” said Mowat. “The Premier needs an attitude adjustment - it’s time he finally takes real action that will protect families and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Mowat noted that Saskatchewan has barely dipped into its rapid test stockpile, yet Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario have improved outcomes with strategic deployment of rapid testing. 

“Rapid testing is one of the most effective tools to get ahead of the variants,” said Meili. “Reports suggest that rapid testing in care homes could have cut deaths in half. With staggering death counts in long-term care, it just makes sense to get these rapid tests out as quickly as possible.”

Meili also called on the premier to reverse his decision to remove Health Care Workers from the priority category for vaccinations. This last-minute change to the vaccine plan that was originally communicated contradicts National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidelines and sends a terrible message to our health care heroes who have given so much in the last 11 months.

“I look forward to joining tonight’s physician town hall to hear their concerns about the plan, and hope the Health Minister and Premier accept the invitation as well,” said Meili.