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. Forty-five per cent of survey respondents indicated an increase in producing their own food, with nine per cent also raising livestock.

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

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

About 25 percent of respondents said that there was no change in their household income, two per cent said their income increased, but 59 per cent 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 per cent of respondents said they applied for CERB. Sixty-four per cent of respondents believe a universal basic income should be implemented.

Results were varied in the personal and family well-being category. Thirty-eight per cent 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 per cent 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.

Forty-five per cent 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, chiropractic, and physiotherapy was negatively affecting pain levels, and resulted in increased depression and anxiety.

Families with children also reported negatives and positives. Seventy-six per cent 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. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents said they could only interact with aging family members virtually or over the phone.

Thirty-seven per cent 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. Sixteen per cent of survey respondents felt the changes to their caregiving situation was unsustainable, 13 per cent experienced limited opportunities for residential respite or day programs, 25 per cent 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 by Feb. 15 at


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

Just Posted

Holly the stuffed Rottweiler has been missing from the front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb. 24. (Submitted photo)
Holly the stuffed Rottweiler is missing from Duncan shop

Toy dog missing from front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb.24

Martha Jane McHardy displays her knitwear in one of the windows at Imagine That! in Duncan this month. (Submitted)
Arts and Entertainment column: Lots to see in Duncan in March

Funding success, painters show, folk art, tell your COVID story

The Kinsol Trestle in Shawnigan Lake is a sight to behold. Funding for the expansion of the Shawnigan Museum celebrates its 100th anniversary. (Citizen file)
Shawnigan Museum expansion gets $480,000

Funds from Government of Canada Legacy Fund - Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
Cowichan Valley mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Clockwise from top left: Malahat First Nation Chief George Harry and councillors Steve Henry and Cindy Harry address community members in a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Malahat Nation confirms first two cases of COVID-19

Community has been under stay-at-home order since Jan. 7

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read