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Health authorities in British Columbia say the second wave of COVID-19 is starting to put a strain on the province’s health care system.

The Canadian Press

British Columbia officials say the second wave of COVID-19 is starting to put a strain on the province’s health care system and they’re asking people to help put the brakes on the spread of the virus.

“We need to ease this pressure so we can continue to manage the virus in our province and also continue to do the many activities that are important to us,” provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement Wednesday.

They reported 762 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 24,422 since the pandemic started.

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The Fraser Health region recorded 481 of those cases.

Officials also reported 10 deaths, while 16,914 people are considered recovered.

The death toll has grown to 320 people, including two recent deaths at a long-term care facility in the Fraser Valley following a large COVID-19 outbreak.

A statement from Tabor Home said 63 residents and 40 staff have been infected as of Tuesday.

Enhanced control measures with help from the regional health authority have been put in place at the facility, including a rapid response team of clinical nurse educators, infection prevention and control experts and screeners to help staff until the outbreak is over, a spokesman for the facility said.

Dan Levitt, executive director of Tabor Home, said in an email that the facility is maintaining a “robust staffing” with full-time, part-time and casual workers.

A staffing plan for essential services was implemented at the beginning of the outbreak to outsource additional workers from Fraser Health, staff agencies and health-care programs at post-secondary institutions, Levitt said.

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“We appreciate the community’s support during this time. The entire Tabor Village community is praying that Christmas comes early this year and all of the hard work being done to control the virus results in the outbreak being declared over soon.”

There are currently 44 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care or assisted-living facilities in the province and outbreaks in five acute-care facilities.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said cases have been increasing in elderly adults for several weeks, with those aged 80 years and older now having the highest COVID incidence rate nationally.

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