Social Planning Cowichan conducted a series of COVID-19 surveys back in the spring, and has a new set of surveys for the winter. (Social Planning Cowichan/Facebook photo)

Social Planning Cowichan conducted a series of COVID-19 surveys back in the spring, and has a new set of surveys for the winter. (Social Planning Cowichan/Facebook photo)

Social Planning Cowichan releases results of spring COVID-19 surveys

Surveys show how CVRD residents have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Planning Cowichan has released results from their spring COVID-19 surveys.

“The COVID-19 crisis impacted us in unprecedented ways. Some experienced inconvenience and uncertainty accessing food, others feared for the future of their families due to impacts on household income. Results identified particular challenges for those struggling with physical and mental health concerns, as well as families with children, aging parents or family members with mobility issues,” Social Planning Cowichan said in a press release.

The survey results were broken up into four categories: food security and household activities; work and household income; personal and family well being; and families with children, aging family members, or disabilities.

Results found that in spring 2020, household activities like cleaning, watching shows and movies, internet usage, renovations, playing games, arts and crafts, and playing music all increased. 45 percent of survey respondents indicated an increase in producing their own food, with nine percent also raising livestock.

More Cowichan residents were spending time in the kitchen. Results show that 47 percent of respondents decreased fast food consumption, 48 percent decreased ordering take-out. Meanwhile, 60 percent increased the amount they cooked at home, and 52 percent said they increased baking. 40 percent of respondents indicated that their weekly food budget has increased.

Under work and household income, 52 percent of respondents indicated that their income decreased due to the pandemic, and 51 percent reported that their household savings decreased. A further 48 percent said that their retirement savings decreased.

About 25 percent of respondents said that there was no change in their household income, two percent said their income increased, but 59 percent said that they lost some income in some way, either reduced hours, the temporary loss of a job, or a permanent loss of a job. Despite the high percentage of respondents who lost at least some income, only 33 percent of respondents said they applied for CERB. 64 percent of respondents believe a universal basic income should be implemented.

Results were varied in the personal and family well-being category. 38 percent of respondents said that their mental health was worsened by the pandemic. They reported feeling anxiety from a loss of social connection, not seeing loved ones as much as they would like, not being able to participate in church and community activities, and worries about losing work and income as key factors in their worsening mental health.

On the other side, 23 percent reported that their mental health improved because they had more time for self care, they were able to slow down, spend more time outside, and had more time to focus on spiritual and wellness practices.

45 percent of respondents said that their physical well-being is worse due to the pandemic. Respondents said that no access to the pool, gym, fitness classes, yoga, Tai Chi, or dance has resulted in weight gain, increased pain, increased blood sugar and blood pressure. Respondents also said that reduced access to therapeutic services like massage, chiro, and physio was negatively affecting pain levels, and resulted in increased depression and anxiety.

Families with children also reported negatives and positives. 76 of respondents with children reported that their children had an increase in screen time, increased outbursts and moody behaviour, more arguments, poor sleeping habits, and were less focused.

Despite the challenges, families have enjoyed more time together, improved bonds and relationships, and an increase in outdoor activities and creativity. Children are finding new ways of learning by reading, online learning series and apps, and YouTube. Kids are also getting outdoors by taking walks and getting involved in gardening.

Families with aging family members were concerned about caring for their aging family members and staying connected with them. 67 percent of respondents said they could only interact with aging family members virtually or over the phone.

37 percent of respondents said they have a family member with disabilities or mobility issues. Many services they rely on were no longer available in the spring including: assisted bathing, foot care, doctors, dentists, physiotherapy, counselling, cleaning services, hearing specialists, optometrists, occupational therapists, home supports, respite care, and case workers.

Caregivers experienced extra stress with limited opportunities for support due to canceled services. Many stated they were not able to prioritize their own needs or take a rest. 16 percent of survey respondents felt the changes to their caregiving situation was unsustainable, 13% experienced limited opportunities for residential respite or day programs, 25 percent were concerned with allowing outside community support services in the home.

Social Planning Cowichan is conducting a COVID-19 winter check in survey. Residents living within the CVRD are encouraged to fill out the survey online at

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

Just Posted

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Black bear tranquillized, being relocated by conservation officers

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Ladysmith resident Bonnie Cook lost the use of most of her basement and her backyard after experiencing a major water leak. (Cole Schisler photo)
Drip by drip: water line leaks lead to big repair bills for Ladysmith homeowners

Nearly all reported leaks occur on old copper lines that have been bent or manipulated

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent Scott Saywell at a May 6 press event showing off two new electric school buses. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district shows off electric buses

New buses anticipated to reduce 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from SD68 buses

An Ater-group Airon Slug identified during YES’s Bio-Blitz. (Yellow Point Ecological Society photo)
Yellow Point Ecological Society’s Bio-Blitz a big success

The Yellow Point Ecological Society held their first-ever Bio-Blitz over the weekend… Continue reading

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Most Read