The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has released new COVID-19 data for local health areas and will now be providing that data on a weekly basis instead of once a month.
Between Nov 29 – Dec. 5, five COVID-19 cases were reported in the local health area that covers Cranbrook and the surrounding rural areas, such as Wycliffe, Moyie, and Fort Steele.
Since the beginning of January, there have been 35 COVID-19 cases reported in the Cranbrook local health area, according to the BC CDC. In total, four cases have been reported in the Kimberley local health area, and 25 cases have been reported in the Fernie local health area.
Providing weekly local health area data is a shift in data disclosure from the BC CDC, which had previously released coronavirus data on a health service delivery area scale. For example, COVID-19 numbers have been reported for the East Kootenay health service delivery area every two weeks, but specific data for the Cranbrook local health area only came out monthly.
Cumulatively, the East Kootenay region has seen 139 COVID-19 cases since January, while 14 cases were reported between Dec. 4-10.
As of Friday, Dec. 11, there have been 40,060 COVID-19 cases in the province since the pandemic was declared. Of that total, 28,948 have recovered, 9,524 are active and 587 deaths have been caused by the coronavirus.
The sporadic nature of data disclosure has made it difficult to track and identify COVID-19 hot spots in rural areas, as outbreaks in places such as Salmo or Revelstoke were made public from press releases issued by Interior Health.
Local reporters are unable to confirm rumours of COVID-19 cases or exposures, as the Interior Health Authority typically cites privacy concerns, unless there are boarder exposure risks.
B.C.’s stringent protocols on COVID-19 data disclosures are a stark contrast from other provincial jurisdictions such as Alberta, which has consistently released COVID-19 data specific to rural counties or by specific sections of large cities such as Edmonton or Calgary.