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

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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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press