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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Minister says pandemic help, including military support, approved for Saskatchewan

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OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government has approved a request for pandemic aid in Saskatchewan, including military support.

Blair issued a series of tweets saying the government approved the request in order to support Saskatchewan residents as the province faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Blair also says the Canadian Forces will “provide communities the support they need to fight the pandemic.”

Blair’s office earlier confirmed it had received and was reviewing a formal request for assistance from the Saskatchewan Party government.

The minister says on Twitter that Ottawa is also in talks with the province to provide additional help from the Canadian Red Cross and other health resources.

Eight critical care nurses with the Canadian military began work at an Edmonton hospital earlier this month after the Alberta government also requested help with its surging numbers of COVID-19 infections.

“We will always be there to support Canadians, and will have more to say on the situation in SK shortly,” Blair tweeted late Friday.

Saskatchewan has already transferred some COVID-19 patients to Ontario.

Data from the health authority for this month shows Saskatchewan had the most residents in intensive care units per capita than any other province at any point in the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the province released modelling that shows hospitalizations are likely to increase until December, unless restrictions are reintroduced, and health care might not return to sustainable levels until March.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said Friday it may need to activate the next stage of its triage plan, as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to overwhelm the health-care system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2021.

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