British Columbia to hire 500 more health workers to increase COVID-19 contact tracing

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British Columbia will temporarily hire 500 more health professionals to work as contact tracers for COVID-19, government officials said on Wednesday.Premier John Horgan made the announcement alongside Provincial Health Administrator Dr.Bonnie Henry explaining that public health teams typically follow close links with people who have tested positive for the virus, but more than resources are needed during this pandemic.

Henry said the new positions are an important part of preventing disease transmission. They allow health officials to make sure everyone who has been exposed to the virus are isolated and monitoring themselves for symptoms.

“It’s basic work for public health,” she said.

Recruitment for the 500 positions will be carried out by public health authorities, and the teams will be ready to be deployed across the province as needed.

“It now allows us to train more people to do this really important work, as we continue through the progression of our pandemic,” Henry said.

The new contact tracers are expected to start operating in September and will be in use until at least the end of March 2021.

The news comes as new COVID-19 infections continue to rise. Health officials said on Tuesday that 46 more cases had been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases so far to 4,111, of which 472 are still active.

A total of 195 people have died from the disease in British Columbia

Good “inconsistent” behavior

Henry said on Wednesday that despite the growing number of cases, British Columbia “still holds its place” on contact tracing, managing to reach 98 percent of contacts from each new positive case.

Nonetheless, Horgan expressed concern about the growing number of cases among young people, especially those linked to large parties.

“As we have seen over the past few weeks, the good behavior and common sense of British Columbians is not consistent across the board,” he said.

Horgan said he hopes British Columbia can continue to enforce public health orders primarily through warnings, but increase penalties for those who continue to flaunt the rules.

He also joked that maybe it was time to ‘call on Deadpool’, pleading for Vancouver movie star Ryan Reynolds – along with comedian Seth Rogen – to publicly encourage young people to avoid the big ones. gatherings.

Meanwhile, Horgan and Henry have both responded to calls from certain corners for a mask warrant in public spaces, saying they have no plans to make face masks mandatory.

“We don’t want people to believe that masks will be an invincibility shield for them,” Horgan said.

Henry reiterated that masks cannot prevent transmission on their own, but she is encouraged to see them become more and more “normalized” in communities.

Earlier Wednesday, Education Minister Rob Fleming released details of a phased back-to-school plan in September.

School staff will arrive on September 8 to receive instructions on plans to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and start adjusting to the new reality. Students are expected to return for orientation on September 10.

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