A military contingent is expected to be in position Monday to decide where to deploy eight critical care nurses who will help Alberta fight COVID-19.
On Thursday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Canadian Armed Forces personnel will arrive at CFB Edmonton to provide aid to hospitals in the province’s capital.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said members of the Canadian Armed Forces will use their experience to help Alberta fight the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Military aid for Alberta will arrive Monday; doctors say provincial ‘firewall’ is more impactful step
Operation LASER is the Canadian Armed Forces response to COVID-19.
Sajjan says that since the start of the pandemic, the military has responded to more than 65 requests for help from provincial or federal partners.
Public Safety Canada says the Canadian Red Cross is also planning to send up to 20 medical professionals, some with intensive care experience, to augment or relieve staff working in Alberta hospitals.
Kenney said these Red Cross workers will likely be deployed to the hard-hit Red Deer Regional Hospital in central Alberta.
CAF and Red Cross to help Alberta cope with COVID-19 outbreak and strained health care system, Minister of Health says
Newfoundland and Labrador also sends a medical team of five or six intensive care staff to work in Fort McMurray, the petroleum center of northern Alberta.
Alberta Health Services, the health authority for the entire province, confirmed to Global News that the process will likely take place this week.
“Alberta Health Services is grateful for the assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Red Cross to provide additional medical personnel to help alleviate the increased strain on our health care system as a result of COVID- 19, ”an AHS statement said on Sunday.
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The Alberta healthcare delivery agency has seen more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily for weeks on end and has had to scramble and reassign staff to manage the influx of intensive care patients.
Kenney announced last week that his government was finalizing the deal for outside military support.
“I know Alberta healthcare workers will be grateful for their helping hand and that all Albertans are grateful for any help during this difficult time,” Kenney said at Thursday’s press conference in Calgary.
Some of those healthcare workers have asked Kenney to do more.
When will federal aid arrive for ailing hospitals in Alberta?
Critical care physicians, emergency department physicians, the executive of the Alberta Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association have called for a rapid lockdown to turn the tide of COVID-19 patients.
Kenney said he wanted to see if recent health measures, including a mask warrant, collection restrictions and a vaccination passport form, were increasing vaccination rates.
– With files from Morgan Black, Global News
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