January 11, 2022
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—As families prepare to send their kids back to school next week, the Manitoba NDP is calling on the PC government to collect the results of rapid antigen tests from Manitobans so families can access sick leave, insurance supports, and accurate medical records, and have a clear picture of case counts in the province.
“The shift to self-administered rapid tests and diagnosis could leave a lot of Manitobans in the lurch when it comes to accessing other supports down the road,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “Because they did not properly prepare for omicron, the PC’s overlooked this critical piece of our health care network. The province should create a database for Manitobans to report their rapid test result and ensure this will inform health care and coverage decisions later, in accordance with PHIA.”
The province’s shift to a new COVID-19 testing protocol relies on Manitobans self-administering rapid tests at home, or in the case of young, healthy Manitobans, skipping testing and assuming positivity if they develop symptoms. This policy was put in place to reduce the burden on an overburdened and under-invested public health system, but a lack of public reporting could make it difficult for Manitobans who do get COVID-19 to prove it later when applying for workers compensation coverage, disability insurance coverage and even private insurance coverage. A person’s medical records will not necessarily show they contracted the virus.
Kinew urged the government to consider changing policies for provincially regulated insurers, in accordance with PHIA, so that the private sector is prompted to follow suit.
“Just like in past waves, Manitobans are stepping up where government is failing, creating their own crowd-sourced databases to track cases and protect public health,” said NDP Healthcare Critic, Uzoma Asagwara. “The PCs need to show leadership by creating and promoting a government database so we can have a unified tracking system to help families access the supports they need.”