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

Construction in Oak Bay is nearly all focused on rebuilding new single-family homes and without secondary suites. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay nears regulation of secondary suites

Preliminary report hints there’s no preferred option

Sidney Jon Blair said he would have died if a van and car had collided at the intersection of corner of Resthaven Drive and Brethour Avenue in early December. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney senior urges motorists to slow down on Resthaven Drive

Jon Blair said community must become more pedestrian-friendly

Bob Joseph, author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, will be available for a Q&A through the Vancouver Island Regional Library Jan. 28. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Regional Library)
Q&A on the Indian Act with Bob Joseph open to Greater Victoria residents

Bob Joseph is the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

Tarpaulin-covered tents sit next to one of the ponds in Beacon Hill Park. The location of the Meegan community care tent has still not been nailed down, as Victoria council rejected the recommendation offered by city staff. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Location of care tent for Victoria’s Beacon Hill campers still not settled

Council roundly rejects Avalon Road site, road’s edge on Cook Street appears the top alternative

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read