B.C. to provide COVID-19 data for individual long-term care homes

·2 min read

The B.C. government has announced a number of changes and improvements to its collection and release of data around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province will once again be releasing individual case and death counts at long-term care homes, three months after it stopped giving that information.

The data will be provided on a weekly basis, instead of daily, as it had been during the spring and summer.

Questions about the lack of transparency had increased in recent weeks based on increasing deaths in care homes — particularly Vancouver's Little Mountain Place, where 41 of 114 residents have died from the virus.

In December, Vancouver Coastal Health said data for individual care homes was not being provided due to privacy concerns, but earlier this week Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it was due to IT issues.

Other data improvements

In addition, the government announced that positive test information will now be directly automated into its data system from lab results, rather than going through separate health authorities.

Officials said this would allow them to report data in 24-hour segments from midnight to midnight, rather than from 10 a.m. one day to 10 a.m. the next, as had been the case.

Officials also said it would also make it easier to provide new data about the pandemic at consistent times each day.

In March and April, the government provided the numbers during their daily briefings, which happened from Mondays to Saturdays.

As months went on, the number of briefings declined to twice a week (Monday and Thursdays). On the three other weekdays, the province has released data at unannounced times between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. PT — occasionally after some of the information had been tweeted by Health Minister Adrian Dix, or released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.