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B.C. government asking retired doctors, nurses to come back to work
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. Ministry of Health is looking at ways to increase COVID-19 screening and testing capacity in the province, and that could include large, dedicated clinics like the one that opened Friday inside Brewer Arena in Ottawa.
“All of the ideas are on the table that you've heard elsewhere,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix at the provincial government's daily coronavirus briefing Friday.
B.C. won’t follow Ottawa’s model of letting anyone who feels sick visit a screening and testing centre, however.
“We need to focus and make sure we can prioritize people who need to get tested,” said B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“Just so everyone understands, when we open such sites, or if we would open such sites, it's not for people to go if they haven't been referred there by anyone. We have to have tests for people who need tests. And those decisions will be made by medical professionals,” said Dix.
Finding medical professionals to staff new clinics could be a challenge, so the province is hoping to lure some of them back to work.
“We've asked people who are recent retireees, both as doctors and nurses, if they're prepared to come back,” said Dix. “We'll report on this with details later, but we've had, to date, an excellent response.”
The province also has to ensure new clinics have enough masks and other vital medical supplies.
“There has been a challenge in providing all primary care providers with the (personal protective equipment) that is necessary and they need in their offices, and that’s been a supply challenge around the world,” said Henry.
The health minister won’t give a timeline or location for any new COVID-19 testing clinics, but said plans are actively being discussed.
“We're not going to tell you what the plans are," Dix said. "We want to open them rather than say we're going to open them. And once they're in place, of course, we'll announce them, but only when they're in place.”