British Columbia’s fall and winter pandemic battle plan involves ramping up COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and a campaign to administer almost two million flu shots.
Health Ministry officials said Wednesday they have prepared the province for COVID-19 scenarios ranging from low to exceptional outbreaks and they are confident the health system can meet the challenges.
They said some of the preparations include being able to conduct up to 20,000 daily COVID-19 tests, hiring more than 600 additional contact tracers and purchasing more than 1.9 million doses of flu vaccine.
It will also focus on protecting older people, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, with staff increases at long-term care homes and administering 45,000 high-dose flu shots for seniors.
Health officials say the plan represents responses to what the province has learned about preventing the spread of COVID-19 since March.
Premier John Horgan says the province is spending $1.6 billion on its pandemic plan, which will result in hiring an additional 7,000 people to work in the health-care system.
“Our pandemic plan has been working,” he told a news conference. “We need to accelerate. We need to up our game.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. has purchased its highest-ever number of flu vaccines to fight influenza.
“Our fall influenza plan is going to be on a scale we have not yet seen,” she said. “We know how important it is to protect all from influenza.”
Henry said influenza in the Northern Hemisphere usually starts in October and November and peaks in December and January.
© The Canadian Press