Military lands in Manitoba to help support COVID-19 fight

WINNIPEG — Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) touched down in Winnipeg on Friday to help support the province’s ongoing struggle with COVID-19.

In a statement to CTV News Winnipeg, the military said the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 436 Squadron and the Aeromedical Evacuation Flight arrived Friday morning.

The plane is part of Operation LASER, which aims to support the transfer of COVID-19 patients to other medical facilities, like out-of-province hospitals.

The unit will use a CC-130J and a specially-designed isolation unit that fits inside the plane to transfer several COVID-19 patients at once.

The troops’ deployment comes after the Manitoba government requested help to alleviate the pressure on the Manitoba health-care system due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Canadian Armed Forces will also be sending up to two multi-purpose medical assistance teams, additional CAF members for general duty support and up to three laboratory technicians.

The military said the exact number of CAF personnel sent to Manitoba would fluctuate based on evolving needs.

The CAF is expected to help for four weeks, at which time a reassessment will be conducted to determine the need for an extension.

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