Seniors are being moved gradually into the Hamlets, the new long-term care and assisted living facility built on York Road north of Beverly Street in North Cowichan.

Hendrik van Ryk, the COO of H&H Total Care Services, the facility operator, says construction had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are now welcoming residents.

He says pandemic protocols are in place for the opening and operation of the facility.

“We continue to follow the Island Health protocols and the provincial protocols in terms of protection of our staff, the residents moving in, their families, that’s all going to be maintained throughout the duration of the pandemic.”

He says they are presently moving in the long-term care residents, and those seniors seeking assisted living units will begin moving in later this year.

Island Health says the new facility will help relieve pressure on Cowichan District Hospital.

It says the three-story uses a “neighbourhood” design, with rooms grouped into “five neighbourhoods of 16-18 beds.”

The neighbourhoods have their own spa/bathing area and each room has a private bathroom with a sink, toilet, and wheelchair-accessible shower.

Island Health Chair Lean Hollins calls the project, “a testament to the power of partnerships.”

Hollins says the health authority’s collaboration with H&H Total Care Services has resulted in a “beautiful facility that will provide world-class care to Cowichan seniors.”

The annual operating budget for the facility is about $5.4-million and the funding for the 80 publically funded long-term care beds will be provided by Island Health.

There are also eight privately funded units.

The Hamlets also offers more than 50 assisted living units,

Island Health is handling admissions to the facility.