Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government will send over 50 more Canadian Forces members to help the Shamattawa First Nation in Manitoba fight a COVID outbreak.

Around 25 per cent of Shamattawa's population has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, with over 100 cases announced on Friday.

The Department of National Defence said in a statement that 11 soldiers arrived in the fly-in community in northern Manitoba last week following the arrival of a group of six Canadian Rangers.

Now, 17 members of a medical unit will arrive from Edmonton to operate an alternative isolation area. Cramped living conditions in the remote community are part of the reason for high transmission rates, says Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead. Residents therefore do not have space to self-isolate when showing symptoms.

Forty soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at CFB Shilo will also arrive to help set up the space. They will be redeployed once the space is operational.

Shamattawa is approximately 740 km northeast of Winnipeg.


With files from the Canadian Press.