Town full of seniors on Vancouver Island puts up strong front against COVID-19

Town full of seniors on Vancouver Island puts up strong front against COVID-19
WatchWith Vancouver Island being a retirement destination for many, the threat of COVID-19 is hitting home on a major scale. Skye Ryan travelled to Qualicum Beach, a town with the oldest population in the country to see how they're coping.

A Vancouver Island community with the oldest average population in Canada is showing its strength in numbers.

Qualicum Beach’s best defence against the virus is proving to be the very people that are most at risk from it.

“You can look downtown. I mean there is no one out and about,” Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese said.

“It’s a quiet town but it’s much quieter now,” said Qualicum Beach resident Gord Almond.

“We get it, you know,” said Qualicum Beach resident Neil Worboys said about physical distancing.

People are still outside and active, but distancing is being taken seriously.

The average age of residents in the mid-Island community is 66 years old.

And Qualicum Beach is home to more seniors per capita than anywhere in this country, so amid a pandemic that is hitting that group the hardest, physical distancing compliance may be the highest anywhere.

“And we’ve been doing it and so far we’re safe,” said Worboys.

“People in town are paying attention and it’s really great to see,” said Wiese.

“I feel bad for the businesses in town. A lot of them have closed, some may not re-open I’m not sure they can recover.”

Yet the town’s mayor is hopeful that residents will bounce back.

“We’ve done so well. so well,” said Wiese.

“And hopefully other people will follow the rules,” said Worboys.

“And not bring a case into our area that would spread.”

According to Gord Almond though, the virus already arrived. A friend of his tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago after a trip abroad and has since recovered.

“Yeah we’ve had the virus in Qualicum,” said Almond.

“So I haven’t heard of anybody passing away but people have been sick so we have to be careful that’s for sure.”

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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