A Greater Victoria doctor says residents need to take precautions to protect themselves and the most vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)

Greater Victoria physician encourages taking precautions to protect at-risk populations amid COVID-19 concerns

Social distancing, hand washing, preparing for self-isolation top priorities

The ageing population in Saanich and Oak Bay could be at greater risk if COVID-19 were to spread through Greater Victoria.

Dr. Bridget Reidy – a family doctor in Central Saanich with experience in home care, geriatric and palliative care –explained that people who are over 50 or who have compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for mortality when it comes to COVID-19.

In 2016, Statistics Canada found that more than 42 per cent of Saanich’s population is over 50. According to a 2019 Housing Needs Study produced by Urban Matters, the median age in the Capital Region District is 44.8 while in Oak Bay it’s 52.4. The study also revealed that while the number of Oak Bay residents under 65 had declined, the rate of residents over 65 is on the rise.

READ ALSO: Saanich amps up to Emergency Operations Centre level two amid COVID-19

The saturation of an above 50 population in Saanich and Oak Bay means the at-risk population is larger in some parts of the region than others, though Reidy noted that an individual’s risk is still based on their age and health.

She also pointed out that while the presumed case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island is not indicative of community spread, it’s “something to be aware of.”

Aside from regular hand washing, avoiding touching the face and staying home when sick, medical professionals are encouraging healthy people to practice social distancing, she explained. This can range from working from home if possible to avoiding crowded public spaces such as theatres, churches and shopping malls, Reidy said.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria considers changes to upcoming byelection due to COVID-19

She added that there is no exact definition of social distancing, but that the goal is to reduce risk. To do this, Reidy recommends following the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s advice and take extra precautions that are possible.

“There’s no harm in doing more,” she said. “The little things everyone does makes a difference because it’s a numbers game.”

Staying home when ill is important because even what seems like a mild cold could be coronavirus, she explained. The main symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath but some people experience nasal symptoms as well.

Reidy emphasized that residents should prepare for possible quarantine or self-isolation by having a month’s worth of food and medication at home. Patients can call their doctors for extra prescriptions but should be aware that health insurance companies may not cover the extra medications, she warned.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay implements social distancing measures, recommends watching council from home

High-risk residents do need to contact their doctors if they have any symptoms, she added.

Reidy explained that with COVID-19, personalized treatment is important because medical professionals are finding that some medications for chronic conditions need to be stopped as they could have adverse effects.

“We’re learning more every day,” she emphasized.

As provincial health officials educate the public on how to prevent the virus from spreading, the effects of a virus outbreak in the region are unknown. The District of Saanich has enacted a level two emergency operations communication and local care homes continue to implement precautions on reducing the spread of the virus.

-With files from Travis Paterson


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP seizes illegal drugs, imitation handguns in Colwood

One man and one woman arrested for weapons-related offences

Alistair MacGregor addresses federal response to COVID-19

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP spoke to constituents via Facebook on Wednesday

Mental Health: A look at a fractured system

In this special series, Black Press Media reporters share stories from across Greater Victoria

VIDEO: Man breaks up Saanich road rage fight

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read