British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Thousands interested in working in long-term care, B.C. minister says

More than 8,000 respond to call for staffing up senior homes

The B.C. government has paid out $120 million to senior care home operators to hire more staff, and has had expressions of interest in the work from more than 8,000 people, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

The B.C. government announced Sept. 9 its intention to hire 7,000 more people to increase care and to manage COVID-19 infection risk, including people to manage visits to long-term care patients who had not been able to visit their loved ones in person since the pandemic began. Premier John Horgan specifically invited people who have been laid off from businesses affected by COVID-19 to apply for the new positions in health care.

“This is part of the effort that will be put in place for infection control and to allow more visitations in long-term care,” Dix said Nov. 2. “I’m heartened by the thousands of British Columbians who want to be part of the solution, who want to work in health care, who in these challenging times have stepped forward to say they want to work in long-term care.”

Dix also outlined the steep increase in contact tracing and testing that has taken place since B.C.’s infection rate has begun to rise rapidly. With the 1,120 positive tests reported over the weekend, there were 24,000 tests performed and over two days, 5,000 calls to B.C.’s 8-1-1 health information line were taken.

There have been more than 500 more contract tracers hired, the target that was set in August, and the ministry’s intention is to hire as many as 800, Dix said.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson, who announced the latest record totals for daily new cases, asked that everyone who is contacted by the infection tracing team co-operate and answer their questions as fully as they can. The public health team is “here to help, not to judge,” Gustafson said.

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@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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