There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Theresa Graham isn’t sure what to do if she thinks she contracted COVID-19, and she’s not alone.

Graham lives in a senior’s complex in Duncan with 41 units, and many of her neighbours have expressed the same concerns.

“What do we do if we want to be checked out?” Graham wonders. “Do we phone 811? If we need a test, how do we get there?”

Graham and her friends say they have never really seen any directions for folks who are on their own, if they are concerned they might be ill. A lot of the information is available online, but that’s not helpful for people who grew up without computers and still don’t have them in their homes.

“We can live without them,” Graham points out.

Several people who live in Graham’s complex don’t drive, and it is too far from the hospital to walk. If they do feel sick, they don’t want to take transit or a taxi or call a neighbour and risk exposing them to the coronavirus.

Island Health spokesperson Dominic Abassi understands where those concerns are coming from.

”It’s certainly true that the majority of the resources are online-based,” he acknowledges.

Never fear, though. There are other ways to find the information that Graham and others are seeking. Abassi provided several phone numbers for resources.

“Through most, if not all, of these resources people can be connected to the supports they require,” he says. “For instance, if someone calls for testing and they have transportation challenges, our call takers have resources to support those needs.”

BC Seniors’ Advocate: 877-952-3181

BC211: 211

“A really good resource is bc211,” Abassi notes. “Folks can just call 211 and they will be connected to a myriad of support services, including COVID-specific ones.”

24/7 medical advice, including about COVID: call 811

Non-medical information about COVID-19: 888-268-4319

Island Health’s COVID testing call centre: 844-901-8442

“If someone feels like they have symptoms, call 811 or just call this number to book a test. As mentioned above, when folks receive a call back to book testing, they can mention any transportation/mobility issues and resources can be made available to support.”

Provincial call centre for booking a vaccine appointment: 833-838-2323.

“The same resources are available to support folks who may need to receive a vaccine in their home. We have a home vaccine program to support that.”

Graham, who turns 82 this November, has already had her first vaccine shot. But like many seniors, and others, the pandemic is getting her down.

“It’s not helping our outlook,” she confesses.

Graham takes solace in gardening, which keeps her both busy and outside. She’s fortunate, she says, to live in a bungalow where she has her own garden.

“If I was in an apartment, I’d be going stir-crazy.”

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