Canadian meat plant inspectors, military members, test positive for coronavirus
Christian Fernsby | ▼ May 16, 2020
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), who are providing help for seniors at nursing homes battling coronavirus outbreaks, announced on Friday that five soldiers have tested positive for the disease.
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Of those infected, four were working at nursing homes in the French-speaking province of Quebec, where about 1,400 military personnel have been sent to 25 long-term care centers to assist with coordinating medical care and infection control. The other one was one of the 275 CAF members working at five nursing homes in Ontario province.
The CAF began its civilian-care mission during the COVID-19 crisis when it deployed teams composed of nursing officers and medical technicians to Quebec, which has become the epicenter of the epidemic in Canada, accounting for 3,401 out of 5,562 deaths across the country as of Friday evening.
It is not known how sick the infected soldiers are, or how many of their comrades are quarantined.
"The women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces have always stepped up to do difficult and dangerous things when called upon," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday at his daily news conference here.
"There are always risks in what they do, and they go into that knowingly and willingly and that is why we offer them our deepest gratitude every day," Trudeau said.
"At the same time, we need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect them, so we will look at the protocols in place and see if and how they can be strengthened, as well as ensuring that cases of COVID-19 don't spread through the Canadian Armed Forces and others who are serving their country," he said.
Meanwhile, 40 meat-plant inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have tested positive for COVID-19.
Of those infected, 18 inspectors were working at a facility owned and operated by American company Cargill Inc., located near the western Canadian city of Calgary, which has become the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreak at meat-processing plants.
Nearly 950 workers there have tested positive for COVID-19, and three have died from the virus. ■ What to read next
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