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

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

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

“The (Canadian Army) will provide the communities with the support they need to fight the pandemic,” the tweet said.

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

In an email to Granthshala News on Saturday, National Defense spokeswoman Andrey-Anne Polin said CAF is prepared to send six critical care nursing officers to Saskatchewan.

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These Nursing Officers will be posted in Intensive Care Unit.

“We are currently working with provincial officials to ensure that these medical professionals will be appointed to the best possible location based on the needs of the people of Saskatchewan,” the statement said.

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

Additionally, depending on capacity, CAF will also provide two Multipurpose Medical Assistance Teams (MMATs) as part of a holistic government response to backfill Saskatchewan Health Authority nurses, intensive care unit (ICU) growth and Support has been deployed to support the pressure on acute care (non-ICU) in the province,” Palin said.

MMAT consists of Nursing Officer and Medical Technician.

When the MMAT was deployed to Ontario in May 2021, it was two 17-member teams.

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

Paulin said the national defense expects to support the province until November 17, but stands ready to extend help if needed.

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“As support for 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 were expected to arrive in Saskatchewan.

Paulin said teams could happen “quite quickly”, although there is further planning and discussion that needs to happen with the provincial government.

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