Tougher restrictions needed in Regina to deal with sky-high COVID-19 numbers: NDP

·2 min read
A nurse draws a COVID-19 vaccine dose from a vial at Regina's drive-thru immunization clinic located at Evraz place.  (Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority  - image credit)
A nurse draws a COVID-19 vaccine dose from a vial at Regina's drive-thru immunization clinic located at Evraz place. (Submitted by Saskatchewan Health Authority - image credit)

Saskatchewan's Opposition party says Regina needs a short-term "circuit breaker" to get a handle on exploding COVID-19 numbers.

As of Monday, there were 726 active cases in Regina — about half of all active cases in the province.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili says the increasing case numbers, and the number of cases involving coronavirus variants of concern in the city, require government intervention.

Those variants tend to spread faster and some research says they result in more serious COVID-19 cases.

The NDP is calling for a return to the system of household bubbles that was in place before March 9, when the province relaxed the restrictions to allow bubbles of 10 people from up to three households.

The NDP also says the government should:

  • Continue to target vaccination to Regina and area.

  • Move bars and restaurants to delivery and takeout only.

  • Move as many workers as possible to "work from home" arrangements, particularly in the civil service and Crown sectors.

Meili said the government has created an "absurd situation" where schools are required to take measures, but bars and restaurants are open.

"School divisions have been forced to act as this government sits on its hands, keeping schools open," he said.

"That's so obvious that that should have been a top priority, but because Scott Moe didn't do his job, kids and their families are paying the price."

NDP health critic Vicki Mowat says a circuit breaker — a relatively short period of strict restrictions — would need to be a few weeks to lower transmission numbers.

Meili says Premier Scott Moe had access to modelling showing the trajectory of the variants and still went ahead with increasing household bubbles and gathering sizes.

Moe and Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab are scheduled to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 situation Tuesday afternoon.