The Provincial NDP believes that more urgent action needs to be taken by the provincial government, to help protect the residents and staff workers of long-term care facilities in the province.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili along with Opposition Critic for Seniors, Matt Love spoke on Tuesday in front of the Pioneer Village care home in Regina, calling for the provincial government to act immediately.
One of the measures of the NDP would like to see introduced, is a mandate that requires all staff workers inside of care homes to be fully vaccinated. Meili says “This government has done nothing to get us to that final mile, to get to that last 10 or 20%. We need them to be calling people directly who aren’t vaccinated and saying what’s in the way, how can we answer your questions and yes we need to make it a requirement that if you’re going to work, that you need to be vaccinated.”
Booster shots for COVID vaccines have been introduced at other places throughout the world, and Meili would like to see the provincial government roll out a plan for a third dose of the vaccine for those who need it. He pointed out that he’s received advice from health care workers and family members of long term care homes that believe that residents require a third dose, as the immunity from the previous two shots begin to wear off.
Another measure proposed by the NDP, is to have mass testing for long term care facilities and Meili says that testing was ignored by the provincial government when it came to recommendations for Parkside Extendicare. “The ombudsman report was really clear on this. We has the rapid tests available, Parkside Extendicare actually requested their use, and this government said no, we’re just not that interested, we don’t want to be testing and making sure that we don’t have COVID going into these facilities. Let’s use the tests, we’ve got them, the technology helps, why not we use every tool at our disposal.”
The leader for the provincial NDP added that the Chief Medical Health Officer in Saskatchewan, Dr. Saqib Shahab has been forced to the sidelines in the fight against COVID-19 and he would like to see the Chief Medical Health Officer be a fully independent officer of legislature. Meili says that Shahab has a low amount of independence compared to other provinces. “I firmly believe that Dr. Shahab wants to do everything right. I would like to free him, to say the truth about what’s going on and to give us the straight answers instead of having it all filtered through well, sometimes through Scott Moe and these days not through anyone at all.”