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

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

RCMP report a violent attack on a woman in the North Shuswap

Woman beat up on side of road in Scotch Creek, perpetrator fled

Recycling depot at Salmon Arm landfill back in operation

Full bins and a lack of bags led to two service disruptions in the month of May

Public workers step up for Shuswap non-profits

$5,000 donation to be divided among Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Enderby support groups

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

Fundraiser launched for North Okanagan drive-in

Vernon resident seeks to raise $20K to save Starlight Drive-In

Unique ‘the Wedge’ development makes way back to Kelowna council

Council initially deferred its decision on the project in March

Most Read