The Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Health and National Defense confirmed in a press release Monday that the federal government will provide a range of supports to Manitoba, which has reported record numbers of patients in care intensive the same day. The press release said the federal government would send human resources, deploy medical personnel through the Canadian Red Cross, and provide support to the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Canadian Armed Forces are currently supporting the deployment of vaccines to up to 23 First Nations communities in Manitoba through the end of June. It is not known if the province has asked for its help beyond that.
Jessica Lamirande, spokesperson for the armed forces, said in an email that the military was ready to help in the fight against COVID-19, but did not specify what it would look like.
CBC News has contacted the Red Cross for more information and will update this story when the agency responds.
Ottawa is also preparing to send epidemiologists, public health officials and laboratory technicians as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, the statement said.
“Manitoba appreciates the extra help, as we were happy to help other jurisdictions when needed,” said provincial spokesperson Blake Robert.
Although the press release says Ottawa is still awaiting a formal request for federal assistance, Robert said the request was made on Friday.
Fourteen people who landed in Manitoba’s ICUs after receiving COVID-19 had been moved to Ontario hospitals on Monday to free up space in strained units, said a spokesperson for Shared Health, the provincial health organization.
In addition to patients transferred to Ontario, the province’s total COVID-19 intensive care patient count on Monday was 88 – a record high for Manitoba.
Manitoba needs 50 critical care nurses and 20 respiratory therapists, as well as 50 contact tracers from Statistics Canada, Prime Minister Brian Pallister said after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.
“It’s going to be – we hope – a temporary thing and a short-term thing, but the sooner we get some relief help here the better,” Pallister said at the time.
Pallister also asked the United States for excess doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States to be shipped to Canada.
Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa also mentioned at a press conference on Friday that any healthcare worker sent to Manitoba would be assigned to three acute care facilities in Winnipeg.
A spokesperson for the federal government said specific details of the resources deployed will be worked out with the province in the coming days.