Ontario asks help from military as hospitals struggle with influx of COVID cases

Newfoundland and Labrador sending health-care workers to Ontario

The Ford government has sought the help of Canada’s military in responding to a surge in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

“The province has made a request for the assistance of those identified resources, many of whom, reside, for example within the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Red Cross organizations,” according to a spokesperson in a statement for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

“In addition to the health human resources, we are requesting logistical and operational support as we seek to augment our response to COVID-19.”

No deployment details were provided.

The support from the military comes as Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed Monday that nine health-care workers from Newfoundland and Labrador would arrive in Ontario on Tuesday – including Premier Andrew Furey’s wife, Dr. Alison Furey, who is a critical care nurse.

The Ministry of Health reported there were 877 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units at Ontario hospitals on Monday.

On Apr. 16, Premier Doug Ford refused an offer of aid from the Canadian Red Cross, shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was sending it to help COVID-19 mobile vaccination teams.

“While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s offer, unless it is matched with an increase in supply, we do not need the Red Cross at this time for administration of vaccines in Ontario,” a statement from the premier’s office said at the time.

During Question Period on Monday, Elliott did not rule out help from other provinces.

“There are other provinces that are offering PPE and we’re looking at maybe receiving some more people from some other provinces too but we know that there are some provinces that are really struggling as well with COVID, so they need their own people.”