Soldiers from the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, British Columbia Regiment, and 12 Field Ambulance prepare to deploy to the Vernon Army Camp. Thirty Lower Mainland Reservists will be sequestering themselves at the Vernon camp as of Tuesday, April 21, as the army seeks to build a force of reliably COVID-free soldiers ready to help vulnerable populations. (BDR Albert Law/39 Canadian Brigade Group - Facebook photo)

Reservists sequestered at Okanagan army camp

Army seeking to build force of reliably COVID-free soldiers ready to help vulnerable populations.

Vernon’s army camp is now home to 30 Reservists from the Lower Mainland.

The group is sequestered at the army camp as the Canadian Armed Forces seek to build a force of reliably COVID-free soldiers ready to help vulnerable populations.

The 39 Canadian Brigade Group made the announcement on its Facebook page Tuesday, April 21.

Joint Task Force (Pacific), which leads the military in B.C. against the COVID-19 pandemic, has already sequestered sailors on the West Coast aboard ship, meaning crews have operated for at least 14 days without interacting with others. Fourteen days is the maximum observed incubation period for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fourteen days from now, the soldiers sequestered in Vernon will remain in place for two more weeks, as 30 new soldiers rotate behind them into sequestration. If the province or federal government asks, these COVID-free personnel can then be sent into vulnerable populations where they’ll be able to render assistance without fear of themselves being vectors for the disease.

“Sequestration is an extreme form of isolation,” said Col. Paul Ursich, commander of the Land Component Command for JTF(P). “Soldiers will have no interaction with family, friends or even colleagues. Their meals will be delivered and they’ll be expected to stay isolated. It will be challenging, but COVID-free soldiers are of immense tactical value.”

Neither the provincial nor federal government has made a substantive request for military assistance in B.C. thus far. But Ursich said that could change in a minute.

“We don’t plan for the best-case scenario, we plan for the worst,” he said. “A remote First Nations community or a town with a large elderly population, these are places where we want to be especially sure our help doesn’t inadvertently make things worse. Sequestration provides that extra layer of comfort.”

Today there are almost 830 reservists in B.C. on full-time service ready to respond to government requests for help in the COVID-19 crisis. These same soldiers, sailors and Rangers are also poised to provide support should natural disasters such as fires or floods threaten their fellow Canadians.

It was announced last week that all summer operations at the Vernon Army Camp would be cancelled in wake of the pandemic.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Vernon Army Camp summer activities cancelled

READ MORE: Rare footage of Vernon Army Camp, 1956, uncovered



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

military news

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

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Two ways to celebrate Business Excellence Awards this Saturday in Penticton

Chamber offers in-person and virtual options to congratulate business and community leaders

South Okanagan businesses surveyed on impact of COVID-19 during summer

Hospitality businesses are being asked to fill out a questionnaire

RCMP seeking witnesses to fatal Peachland motorcycle crash on Highway 97

One person died following a motorcycle crash south of Peachland on Sunday afternoon

Out of character for Okanagan woman to go missing

Karee Lynn Kamis, 64, was last seen in Penticton on Sept. 18

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program for low-income residents

Program available to low-income residents in the region

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Known Kelowna Hells Angels associate to face trial in October

Colin Michael Bayley is set to stand trial next month for an alleged aggravated assault

Most Read