VANCOUVER -- The COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. has relentlessly targeted long-term care homes with elderly residents making up the majority of the province's 1,210 deaths related to the disease.

Monday's announcement that the Canadian Red Cross would provide additional boots on the ground in the province begged the question, “why now?” Currently, there are half as many outbreaks in long-term care homes as there were two weeks ago in B.C.

“Even though the number of outbreaks has declined this is a very challenging time in long-term care,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday.

“I think it in some respects it always is particularly in those facilities that are still undergoing outbreaks and challenges.”

The response teams will provide support where there may not be enough current staff for.

“I think it is important to continue to do what we're doing which is hire staff, support care homes, improve infection controls and in this case add additional supplementary supports,” Dix added,

In an emailed statement to CTV News, the Red Cross said it will help with tasks such as setting up virtual visits, organizing and sanitizing.

Its members will also aid in delivering personal protective equipment.

The Red Cross performed a similar role at Roberta Place in Barrie, Ontario where a COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in 63 deaths.

“So what we'll be able to do is help to provide supports for some of the activities that are essential to the clients but that will free up the staff in the home to do the important clinical and health care supports that the clients need as well,” Tanya Elliott, vice-president of Canadian Red Cross in Ontario said in January.

The five unnamed B.C. facilities will be in the Fraser Health region.

Adrian Dix says the roughly 100 members of the Red Cross will immunized before they step in to help.