Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is considering a request from the Quebec government to send members of the Canadian Armed Forces with medical training to help in the province’s long-term care homes.
A formal request for help was made last night to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Trudeau said Thursday.
“Right now, we’re looking at this and trying to see how we can help Quebec during these difficult times,” he said.
“We will need to discuss this with Quebec to see exactly how we can support them and respond to this request, which is not the usual type of request. Of course, this is not a usual situation either.”
Trudeau said the federal government may also assist with sending members of the Red Cross and specialized volunteers who have registered with Health Canada.
Later Thursday, Premier François Legault said the assistance from the army would likely amount to between 60 and 100 people with specialized training. “The lack of staff remains our biggest concern,” he said.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has wreaked havoc on residents and staff at many long-term care homes, known in Quebec as CHLDs.
Infections have swept through dozens of homes, contributing to the deaths of hundreds of elderly Quebecers. In some homes hit hard by the outbreak, more than 100 staff have fallen sick.
Legault had also made a plea Wednesday for the province’s most highly trained doctors to bathe and feed elderly residents.