Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (File Contributed/portrenfrew.com)

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (File Contributed/portrenfrew.com)

Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

Whether it’s a quick stop by Botanical Beach or a visit to Big Lonely Doug, Port Renfrew’s community leaders say it’s time to put those day trips on hold.

The close-knit community of around 400 people sends the message to anyone outside their borders to avoid all non-essential travel until Dec. 7. The request is twinned with the latest provincial health orders.

“Any spread of the virus could quickly overwhelm our first responders,” said Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, which was formed after the first wave of COVID-19 hit in March.

“At the end of the day, people are going to do what they want to do, but there are minimal resources here.”

Port Renfrew has one general store, a gas station and limited phone service. Though the town has a small volunteer fire department and an ambulance station that runs 24/7, the closest hospitals are two hours away in Duncan and Victoria.

The Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force is comprised of first responders, businesses and community stakeholders. The chamber of commerce boasts around 70 members, and the community mostly relies on larger cities for schools, medical services, retail shops and groceries.

New cabins are being built in Port Renfrew, recreational properties to visit, and provincial parks to walk through, but Ablack says the thought of dropping by should be off the table for the safety of all.

Kyle van Delft, manager of the Pacheedaht First Nation emergency preparedness program, said his group is more prepared for a confirmed case or a potential outbreak of COVID-19 if it should hit, as it’s stocked with enough personal protection equipment for first responders and residents – something that couldn’t be said during the initial lockdown in March.

More than 600 litres of hand sanitizer and 550 reusable masks have been distributed to the Pacheedaht First Nation, said van Delft. Also, thousands of disposable masks have been handed out throughout the community.

As for protesters across the province who have defied health orders or refused to wear a mask, Ablack said they hadn’t had any issues. He said the community has stayed positive and followed Health Ministry COVID protocols.

Port Renfrew’s task force reminds its residents to avoid non-essential trips to larger communities throughout the South Island such as Duncan, Sooke or Victoria.

“We’re proud of the fact we haven’t had a single case or an outbreak to this point,” Ablack said. “Hopefully, things can remain the same.”

READ MORE: Remote First Nation under emergency lockdown after suspected case of COVID-19

ALSO READ: COVID-19 lockdowns reduced the earth’s seismic noise by up to 50 per cent


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

CoronavirusPort Renfrew

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

Just Posted

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Mountain bikers lining up for Hartland’s newest trail

Revamped black diamond run ‘what the community needed’

A new daycare at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre is slated to open in September. (Rendering courtesy of West Shore Parks and Recreation)
Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre brings daycare centre to Colwood

New centre to offer 80 spaces come September

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s Float the Boat fundraiser campaign is underway. The goal is to raise $25,000 in donations to help with the cost of running virtual programs and onsite operations. (Courtesy Maritime Museum of B.C.)
Maritime Museum of B.C. looks to Float the Boat in Victoria

Fundraiser proceeds will support multitude of virtual programs and onsite operations

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read