Montreal

More than 100 Armed Forces members dispatched to Quebec's long-term care homes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday 125 people will work in the homes, following a request for help by the province earlier this week.

Province's homes have struggled to maintain staffing levels during COVID-19 outbreak

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the request for help from the Armed Forces was made earlier this week. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces with medical training are headed to Quebec's long-term care homes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday 125 people will work in the homes, following a request for help by the province earlier this week.

Trudeau said the federal government is also looking to send members of the Red Cross and specialized volunteers who have registered with Health Canada.

In a statement, the Canadian Armed Forces said workers will begin to deploy on Saturday. The team comprises nursing officers, medical technicians and support personnel.

"We have worked closely with Public Safety Canada, Health Canada and the Government of Quebec to meet the urgent need for assistance in Quebec's long-term care facilities," said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread to hundreds of residents and staff at many of Quebec's long-term care homes, known as CHSLDs. 

In some homes hit hard by the outbreak, more than 100 staff have fallen sick.

At a news conference later in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault thanked Trudeau for helping address the critical shortage of workers in some CHSLDs.

Roughly 2,000 specialists in the province have also offered to work in CHSLDs since Legault appealed to them Wednesday.

Freed up by the cancellation of surgeries and non-emergency procedures, specialists are now being assigned to support nurses and orderlies.

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