The province is stepping up their game when it comes to COVID-19, and they need a ton of help. The premier just announced that they're hiring 500 people to help with contact tracing in B.C. The hirees will start work in September and continue until the end of March 2021.*
In a news conference on Wednesday, August 12, B.C. premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new push to find public health workers.
"These positions will be temporary," said Horgan.
"We expect many will be retired nurses and other health care professionals, as well as recent graduates."
The plan is to supply health authorities with a fresh wave of support for battling the pandemic, as well as teams to deploy "across the province as required."
"Right now we are holding our own, we're able to contact 98% of people who are close contacts of our cases here in B.C. We're not seeing a lot of unlinked cases," said Henry.
However, should there be a "surge of cases" in the fall, there will be a bunch of people trained up prepared to tackle the challenge, she continued.
Henry added that the increased capacity will help the government dedicate more resources toward the work they put aside to focus on the pandemic.
Whenever someone tests positive for COVID-19, Henry said they're questioned about where they went and who they were with. That way, they're able to curb the spread.
By contact tracing, the province is able to ensure anyone who might have been exposed to the virus is isolating and monitoring for symptoms.
"This is bread and butter work for public health," said Henry.
"It's how we ensure when someone's infected with a communicable disease — something that can be transmitted between people — that we do everything we can to prevent that transmission."
The government's contact tracing so far has been able to link people to COVID-19 outbreaks and warn locals of exposures.
You can find possible COVID-19 exposures on the appropriate health authority websites to check if you've been affected.
Most recently, there have been a number of flights to YVR flagged for exposure as well as local pubs or nightlife establishments.
*This article has been updated.