Thursday, June 20, 2024

Here’s what you can expect when BC switches to weekly COVID-19 updates


It’s the end of an era.

After nearly two years of daily reporting,  British Columbia is moving towards the next steps in its COVID-19 response by transitioning to weekly COVID-19 reporting.

Starting Thursday, April 7th, COVID-19 dashboards and reports issued by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control will be updated on a weekly basis. 

Data will be updated every Thursday afternoon, providing information from the past full week, covering data from the previous Sunday to Saturday.

The first report will include data for March 27th to April 2nd. 

According to the Ministry of Health, the new COVID-19 reporting approach aligns with a shift away from a ‘case-management’ model to a ‘surveillance’ approach.

This approach focuses on identifying changes in COVID-19 trends over time across different regions of the province, similar to how the government monitors for other serious respiratory illnesses through FluWatch.

Here are the changes you can expect when COVID-19 updates move to weekly reports:

  • Currently, case counts include both laboratory data and health authority line tests. Now, cases will be based on an individual’s first PCR test through the Medical Services Plan (MSP)
  • Hospitalization reporting will leverage the hospital occupancy data that is currently used to report on “currently in hospital” and “currently in critical care” for all hospital metrics
  • Death reporting is changing to rely on data from Vital Statistics, the agency that registers all deaths in BC. and reports on death statistics reported by BC Coroners Service
  • Previously, each death in someone with a documented COVID-19 infection was reviewed to determine if the death truly resulted from the COVID-19 infection. Now, all deaths that occurred within 30 days of an individual’s positive lab result will be reported, regardless of whether the underlying cause of death was determined to be COVID-19 or not
  • Mortality data will be reviewed once the cause of death is reported by Vital Statistics in order to better understand the true scope of COVID-19 mortalityReporting of deaths in this system is different from the previous system. A new separate death data stream will be started while access to the previous records will remain

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