Military reports more than 220 Canadian troops caught COVID-19

Military reports more than 220 Canadian troops caught COVID-19

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is lifting the veil of secrecy over the number of troops with COVID-19, as the military gets ready for fresh calls to help out during the second wave of the pandemic.

In its first full update since mid-March, the military revealed Tuesday that a total of 222 Canadian service members have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

That includes 24 active cases. The others have been resolved.

Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said no military members had died from the illness.

This is the first time the public has known the scope of infections in the Canadian Armed Forces since March 20, when officials said they would stop sharing such details. There were three cases at that time.

The military did later reveal that 55 of the more than 1,600 soldiers deployed into long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec in the spring had become infected with the novel coronavirus.

But it refused to provide overall figures for the nearly 100,000-strong force, with officials expressing concern the information could be used by foreign adversaries hoping to take advantage of the pandemic.

“Leadership is closely monitoring the extent of COVID-19 in the defence team,” the Department of National Defence said on its website Tuesday after publishing the new figures.

It went on to credit “the rigorous application of public health measures” and other risk-mitigation strategies for “effectively containing the spread of the virus amongst our personnel.”

The release of the figures came as senior defence officials told the Armed Forces to be ready for new orders as the number of cases of COVID-19 across Canada continues to rise.

In a message to the troops, chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance and Jody Thomas, deputy minister at the Defence Department, warned the situation “is different and more complex than we faced in March.”

As a result, they said, new orders are coming soon to “to refocus our efforts, and position National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces for success this fall.”

In the meantime, “we must accept that we now live in an environment that will remain altered by COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. To succeed in this environment, we must reject complacency.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

How bad is the COVID-19 situation in Alberta? The province’s top doctor… Continue reading

A $2.3-billion expansion of Alberta’s natural gas transportation system has been approved. “This should provide significant benefits — and we need every little bit of economic boost we can get,” says Reg Warkentin, policy adviser for the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Flickr photo)
Red Deer-area to benefit from $2.3 billion gas pipeline expansion project

Project will add 344 km of new pipeline between RMH and Grande Prairie

Dustin Snider was elected the new board president for Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Earl’s Restaurant manager re-elected Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce president

Dustin Snider has been re-elected president of the Red Deer & Distict… Continue reading

Red Deer singer Kayla Williams hopes listeners fed up with the pandemic are comforted by her new song, Stealing from My Youth, which is digitally available for streaming on Friday. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer singer summarizes universal pandemic feelings in a new single

Kayla Williams releases ‘Stealing From My Youth’ on Friday

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer urged Red Deerians to take more pandemic precautions to stem the rising number of local cases of COVID-19. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer mayor urges citizens to take more pandemic precautions

Active cases are rising at a ‘concerning’ rate

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday February 4, 2020 in Ottawa. The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer's construction season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta welcomes federal OK of NGTL gas pipeline expansion while criticizing delay

Alberta welcomes federal OK of NGTL gas pipeline expansion while criticizing delay

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Trudeau says dairy farmers facing new losses due to CUSMA will be compensated

Trudeau says dairy farmers facing new losses due to CUSMA will be compensated

On Sept. 23, the mayors of Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo gathered in Edmonton to make the case for local EMS dispatch in a meeting with Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard, and Health Minister Tyler Shandro. (Photo contributed)
‘Issue of life and death’, mayors plead with government to halt consolidated EMS dispatch

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer called on Jason Kenney to overturn consolidated EMS dispatch decision

CP Rail locomotives sit idle at the company's Port Coquitlam yard east of Vancouver, B.C., on May 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canadian Pacific Railway reports Q3 revenue and profit down from year ago

Canadian Pacific Railway reports Q3 revenue and profit down from year ago

CN Rail locomotives are moved on tracks past cargo containers sitting on idle train cars at port in Vancouver, on Friday, February 21, 2020. Canadian National Railway Co. saw earnings slide 17 per cent for the three months ending Sept. 30, as record-setting grain shipments failed to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on freight trains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CN Rail earnings fall to $985 million in Q3 despite record grain shipments

CN Rail earnings fall to $985 million in Q3 despite record grain shipments

The corporate logo of Kinross Gold Corp. is shown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Kinross unveils decade-long gold production plan based on current portfolio of assets

Kinross unveils decade-long gold production plan based on current portfolio of assets

A sign board in Toronto displays the TSX close on Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Stock market rally loses steam as hopes fade for stimulus deal before U.S. election

Stock market rally loses steam as hopes fade for stimulus deal before U.S. election

Most Read