COVID-19: Federal government provides more details on Sask. military aid

The federal government provided more details on Saturday about the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) assistance coming to Saskatchewan to help deal with high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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On Friday night, Federal Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced on Twitter that the federal government approved a request for assistance from the provincial government.

“The (Canadian Forces) will provide communities the support they need to fight the pandemic,” the tweet stated.

Blair said the federal government was in talks with Saskatchewan officials to provide additional Red Cross help and “other health resources.”

In an email to Global News on Saturday, Andrée-Anne Poulin, a spokesperson with the National Defence, said the CAF is prepared to send up to six critical care nursing officers to Saskatchewan.

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These nursing officers will be employed in Intensive Care units.

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“We are currently working with Provincial authorities to ensure these medical professionals will be employed in the best possible location based on the needs of the people of Saskatchewan,” the statement added.

The CAF will also provide “aeromedical transport” for in-province and out-of-province critical care patient transfers, as capacity allows.

“Additionally, dependent upon capacity, the CAF will also provide up to two Multipurpose Medical Assistance Teams (MMAT) as part of a Whole of Government response to backfill Saskatchewan Health Authority nurses deployed to support the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) surge and support pressure on Acute care (non-ICU) in the province,” Poulin said.

MMATs include nursing officers and medical technicians.

When MMATs were deployed in Ontario in May 2021, it was two 17-member teams.

“It’s important to note that this support is pending further discussions with the Province of Saskatchewan (it will be based on their needs).”

Poulin added that national defence expects to support the province until Nov. 17, but are prepared to help longer if needed.

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“As supporting CAF personnel travel to Saskatchewan and begin integration training with their provincial counterparts, further updates will be made available.”

The statement did not include when CAF members are expected to arrive in Saskatchewan.

Poulin said the teams could be in place “fairly quickly” though there is further planning and discussions that need to take place with the provincial government.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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