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B.C.'s fall pandemic response plan includes more testing, tracing and flu shots

BY , Sep 9, 2020 10:11 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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 say 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.

The officials say 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.

The officials say the plan 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.

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