Up to three military teams to be deployed in Ontario hospitals to deal with surge of COVID-19 patients
TORONTO -- The Canadian Armed Forces will send up to three medical teams to Ontario in order to support hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 following a request from the province.
The federal government made the announcement in a statement issued on Monday evening in response to Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who formally asked for specialized nurses to assist in intensive care, as well as other medical personnel.
In the statement, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said the military would be deploying “multi-purpose medical assistance teams” comprised of nursing officers, medical technicians and other Canadian Forces members for general support.
The federal government said that the teams would be “rotated in and out of the province rather than deployed simultaneously to ensure that CAF support is sustainable.
“We are always ready to help provinces and territories across Canada in their fight against COVID-19. This is a team Canada effort, and I'm grateful to the Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Red Cross, and health professionals who have stepped up to help a neighbour in need,” Blair said in the release.
“There has been outstanding collaboration between the responding organizations from all orders of government in response to this emergency, and I want to thank all those on the front lines who continue battle to keep Canadians safe.”
In addition, the federal government said it would also “fund the redeployment of the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) to augment or relieve staff within medical care facilities.”
The support from the federal government comes just hours after Jones revealed that the Ontario government has been recently working to "identify health human resources" that could be sent to the province.
"At the conclusion of that process, we have made a request for the assistance of those identified resources, many of whom reside, for example, within the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Red Cross organizations,” Jones said.
“In addition to the health human resources, we are requesting logistical and operational support as we seek to augment our response to COVID-19."
It was only 10 days ago Jones said in a statement that Ontario’s “only request” to the federal government was a "steady supply of vaccines."
Those comments came after the federal government offered to send members of the Canadian Red Cross to Ontario to help with the vaccine rollout.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland announced Monday that it would send nine health-care workers, including the premier's wife, to Ontario to help with the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients.
They are expected to arrive in Ontario on Tuesday.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 continue to rise in Ontario, with 2,271 people being treated for the disease. Of those patients, 877 are in intensive care units and 605 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.