CAF personnel deployed to Long Term Care Facilities test positive for COVIF-19

Currently, five CAF personnel deployed to Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF) have tested positive for COVID-19. 

A press release from the Canadian Armed Forces stated five personnel have contracted the novel coronavirus as a result of serving in LTCF in Quebec and Ontario.

“Every day, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members risk their own health and safety to protect Canadians. In response to requests for assistance from Quebec and Ontario, the CAF is honoured to be able to provide support to some of our most vulnerable populations,” noted the press release.

According to the press release, there is approximately 1,400 personnel serving in 25 LTCF for Operation Laser, the CAF’s response to COVID-19. 

Members from 12e Régiment blindé du Canada assist at the Résidence Berthiaume-Du Tremblay long-term care centre during Operation LASER, in Montréal (Quebec), on May 5, 2020. Photo courtesy of Corporal (Cpl) Genevieve Beaulieu, Imagery Technician, Valcartier Imagery.

CAF personnel COVID-19 cases deployed to LTCF

As of today, the breakdown of personnel with cases employed on Operation Laser is: 

      • Ontario 1 tested positive
      • Quebec 4 tested positive

The CAF will be updating CAF personnel COVID-19 cases every two weeks, beginning May 15, 2020, until they are no longer deployed to LTCF. 

“This data is being proactively released so that CAF members, their families, and LTCF residents and staff members are aware of the impacts on our personnel and the effectiveness of our protection and prevention measures,” stated the press release.

Training CAF Personnel receive

The press release noted, “Our members possess unique military knowledge and skills that position them to assist civil authorities in specialized areas in Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Through ongoing coordination with federal and provincial partners, the CAF continues to allocate all appropriate and available DND/CAF resources, including medical personnel, towards supporting long term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario. All CAF personnel who are deployed in Quebec and Ontario facilities are properly trained and equipped. At the same time, our members are taking extraordinary precautions to stop the spread of this disease and to remain healthy and ready to assist civil authorities.”

A team of military personnel from various parts of Quebec provides care to residents at the Vigi Reine-Élizabeth residential and long-term care centre in Montreal, Quebec as part of Operation LASER on May 10, 2020. Photo credit: Corporal (Cpl) Genevieve Beaulieu, Imagery Technician, Valcartier Imaging Section.

Prior to being deployed to LTCF, CAF personnel train in various areas including: 

        • safe movement of patients, 
        • protocols for wearing and using personal protective equipment, 
        • assisted feeding, 
        • bedside care

Also, CAF personnel undergo a familiarization and orientation period in the establishment to ensure their work will be properly structured and effective once they commence duties. They also receive mental health and resilience training to prepare them for the current reality of serving in LTCF. 

“Should CAF personnel be asked by provincial authorities to re-position from one facility to another with more acute needs, members will first be screened for illness and all personal health measures will be strictly enforced. Additionally, the CAF has contracted hotels to support the housing requirements of CAF members providing direct on-site support to LTCFs. Independent food, transportation and laundry systems are made available to personnel to ensure the force is self-sufficient.” 

Top Image: Members of the 12th Armored Regiment of Canada go to the Vigi Mont-Royal Center, a residential and long-term care centre, to provide assistance during Operation LASER, in Montreal, Quebec, May 11 2020. Photo courtesy of Combat Camera: Corporal (Cpl) Genevieve Beaulieu, Imaging Technician, Valcartier Imaging Section.

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