‘No basis in reality’: NDP decries Saskatchewan premier’s COVID-19 response

The Opposition says Premier Scott Moe‘s response to Saskatchewan’s current spread of COVID-19 has “no basis in reality.”

The NDP said national data shows that Saskatchewan has had the worst rate of deaths over the last seven days in the entire country as well as the highest rate of active cases.

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Coronavirus testing on the decline in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan had its deadliest month of the pandemic in January when more than 150 people died. That compares with a total of 153 deaths between last March and Dec. 31.

“It’s not success. This is not where we need to be. We still have people dying every day,” NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Wednesday.

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Later in the day, health officials reported eight more deaths from COVID-19 and 194 new infections.

Meili said Moe is downplaying the situation when he says current public health measures are working. Team sports are banned and people are not allowed to visit each other’s homes other than to provide child care.

Bars, restaurants, gyms, and retail businesses are open to the public with restrictions that include mandatory masks, reduced capacity and an alcohol curfew. In-person worship services are capped at 30 people.

Only casinos and bingo halls have been shuttered.

Julie Leggott, Moe’s press secretary, said in a statement that Saskatchewan has among the lowest fatality rates in the country — 27.33 per 100,000.

“While this is certainly the most sobering measure, it is an important reminder to everyone that adhering to the public health guidelines can help control our case numbers,” she said.

“Active cases are now down to 2,254, down over half from early December; and the seven-day average is now 233, down almost 30 per cent from its peak in early January.”

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3 Saskatoon long-term care residents die amid COVID-19 outbreak

Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer, has said the caseload is decreasing, but more slowly than officials would like to see.

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Meili said the Saskatchewan Party government needs to rethink its response now that a more contagious COVID-19 variant has been discovered in the Regina area.

Health officials said Tuesday two people had tested positive for the United Kingdom strain of COVID-19, but they had self-isolated, their close contacts were identified and there was no evidence of community spread.

“Do we stop allowing interprovincial travel? We definitely need to close the bars. Those are a high-risk area for super-spreader events,” Meili said.

Moe has repeatedly said the novel coronavirus can be controlled if people follow existing public health measures. He has urged people to comply while the government tries to get more vaccines.

The province said more than 35,000 shots have been given to date to vulnerable adults in long-term care and remote areas, as well as to health-care workers.

Click to play video 'Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care'

Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care

Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care

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