Demonstrators in Regina demand province implement restrictions as COVID-19 cases soar

Growing calls for action to combat rising COVID-19 cases reached the Saskatchewan Legislative Building Thursday as protestors gathered to demand the government bring back public health measures.

The demonstrators met to urge Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman to implement measures to reduce the growing strain COVID-19 is having on the province’s healthcare system and to protect children who are not able to get vaccinated.

Saskatchewan currently has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases among provinces over the last 7 days, recording 218 cases per 100,000 people. Alberta is in second place with 203, while Ontario is third with 53, according to Health Canada.

The province’s seven day average of daily new COVID-19 cases is 364, or 30.2 per 100,000 population. The daily average is at the highest mark recorded throughout the pandemic – and has been rising steadily since the beginning of August.

As of Thursday, 184 people are in hospital related to COVID-19, including 32 patients in intensive care.

“Despite the highest rate of cases in Canada, our government is doing nothing. It’s just reckless, people are dying, our hospitals are filling up, our healthcare workers are totally burned out. So (this) was just a way for people to come together as one voice and say enough,” said co-organizer Donna Pasiechnik.

The protestors were met by counter-demonstrators who carried signs with anti-vaccine and anti-public health measure messages. Officers from the Regina Police Service briefly showed up, but protests remained peaceful.

The original group said they just want the government to address the fourth wave.

Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili attended the rally. He also held a news conference on Thursday afternoon where he asked the government to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all provincial civil servants and school staff.

“We need to bring in appropriate incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated, bring in mandates for public events,” said Meili.

CTV News reached out to the province for an interview regarding the protest, but was told no one was available.

On Wednesday, the province issued a statement saying the government continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the premier will have more to say in the “coming days.”