Canadian military dealing with surge in new COVID-19 infections since December

With a harsh climate and fascinating wildlife, the North is a noteworthy region of Canada. The vast region—almost 4 million square kilometres large—is the home of many Indigenous communities. It is also a blossoming business landscape. It carries an abundance of minerals and fossil fuels and its unique environment attracts tourists and adventurers. All this paired with the fact that it spans three territories and claims one of Canada’s coasts emphasizes the importance of the North in Canada’s defence system. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) maintains a strong, permanent presence in the North through several channels. These include Canadian Forces Station Alert, Joint Task Force North (JTFN) and the Canadian Rangers. The CAF also runs northern operations.

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month.

New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December.

That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic.

While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia.

Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home.

Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19.