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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thank B.C. front-line workers in video chat

Royals thank B.C. front-line workers
Front-line health care workers from Surrey Memorial Hospital received a virtual visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Catherine Urquhart reports.

Admiration and appreciation for front-line workers have been extended to staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital this Canada Day.

Staff were surprised and delighted to chat with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In a video released on YouTube and tweeted from the official Kensington Royal Twitter account, the Royal couple was greeted with smiles and cheers as staff were encouraged to talk about their experiences battling COVID-19.

“We’d love to hear what the experiences have been like for yourselves and the challenges you’ve been under,” Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge asks the staff, some of whom are finishing shifts or taking breaks.

“We’ve had tremendous leadership,” one of the workers tells the Royal couple. “We’ve been planning since February, it came here earlier than a few other places, but with great planning, leadership and a lot of luck as well, we all know that we’ve been very fortunate.”

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“We’ve made it through the surge and now we’re into the recovery phase where we’re trying to take stock of all our stories and what we’ve been through and find the meaning in everything we’ve lost and everything we’ve gained.”

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The video call with Prince William and Kate actually took place last week, but has been released today in celebration of Canada Day.

Read more: Prince William, Kate Middleton pay virtual visit to excited classroom of kids

The workers said one of the biggest challenges facing all of the health-care workers is not having the families come into the hospital to support the patients and be a part of their care.

Staff at the hospital have used tools such as FaceTime and other virtual tools to help patients connect with their families.

“That’s heartbreaking to hear and you guys see and feel that on a daily basis,” the Duchess of Cambridge says.

Health officials on Tuesday confirmed 12 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and no new deaths.

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There are 2,916 confirmed cases of the disease in the province, according to a written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. Of those, 2,590 patients have fully recovered, or around 89 per cent.

Read more: B.C. records 12 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths

There are now just 152 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

The number of patients in hospital is unchanged at 18, with four of them in intensive care.

The province’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 174.

“We’re in huge admiration for everything that you’re doing,” the Duchess of Cambridge tells the health-care workers.

In a statement posted to the Fraser Health Twitter account, one of the workers, Dr. Gregory Haljan, said “their thoughtful questions about our experiences gave us a tremendous sense of pride in what our colleagues, patients, and families have worked so hard to achieve under such pressure.”

-With files from Jon Azpiri