La Loche mayor voices concern over premier's trip up north prior to his COVID-19 diagnosis

·3 min read
La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois called for more information on Premier Scott Moe's decision making after he tested positive for COVID-19, following a visit to the community, about 850 km northwest of Regina.  (Alicia Bridges/CBC News - image credit)
La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois called for more information on Premier Scott Moe's decision making after he tested positive for COVID-19, following a visit to the community, about 850 km northwest of Regina. (Alicia Bridges/CBC News - image credit)

La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois is concerned residents were put at risk of getting COVID-19 due to Premier Scott Moe's visit to the community just days before he tested positive on Thursday.

She's calling on him to explain why he didn't take a test on Monday, before going to the community, about 850 km northwest of Regina. And in a Facebook post, Jolibois said she sent a letter to Moe's office about the issue after finding out about his COVID-19 status online.

The premier was not immediately available to comment. But his office directed CBC to a statement published on Moe's Facebook page, which was published two hours after Jolibois' letter was posted.

In the post, Moe said he tested negative on a rapid test late on Sunday before he travelled to northern Saskatchewan the next day. And the premier said he notified all potential close contacts as laid out in public health's contact management document.

However, Jolibois, who is also the NDP candidate in an upcoming provincial byelection, said she's concerned about the people he saw while traveling in the north on Monday and Tuesday.

In between Moe's Sunday and Thursday tests, he was pictured at several public events.

On Monday, he was at an announcement the Ducharme Elementary School in La Loche and attended a discussion on mental health and addictions support in Pinehouse, Lac La Ronge and Buffalo Narrows.

He also attended a press conference with members of the media in Regina on Wednesday.

Jolibois said people who attended the school event in La Loche "where many unvaccinated children were present" have contacted her, and that only some of them were notified they were a close contact.

Along with justifying his decision to not use a rapid test on Monday, Jolibois called on the premier to notify all potential close contacts and provide a "full list" of all the communities members of his cabinet travelled to this week.

Jolibois was not available to comment on Friday.

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The premier's post noted that those who were informed were limited to a 48-hour timeline; or anyone who met the criteria of being a close contact 48 hours prior to testing positive, or developing symptoms for COVID-19.

Moe tested positive on Thursday morning.

The premier's press secretary, Julie Leggott, previously said that those who attended events and gatherings on Monday are not considered close contacts because they are outside the 48-hour window as identified by public health.

"As Premier Moe tested positive this morning, any activity on or before Jan. 10 falls outside of that time period," Leggott said.

The post does not provide a list of all communities visited by Moe or members of his cabinet this week, as requested by Jolibois.

"I look forward to visiting your community again," the post from Moe concludes.

Moe's trip to Northern Saskatchewan and Jolibois' letter come as a byelection is set to be held in the provincial riding of Athabasca.

The NDP's Buckley Belanger was the longtime incumbent in that seat but resigned to run federally in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River as a Liberal. However, he failed to take the riding.

The Athabasca byelection must be held by Feb. 15

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