BC CDC Speak dashboard screenshot

BC CDC’s survey of 400,000 British Columbians released

Gives an insight into various aspects of British Columbians’ lives affected by the pandemic

The results of a survey spanning 400,000 British Columbians, conducted by B.C. CDC is now available online in the form of an interactive dashboard.

The “BC COVID-19 SPEAK: Your story, our future” survey is said to be one of the biggest health surveys in Canadian history. The results from the online survey conducted by B.C. CDC from April 24 to May 12, 2020, have been fed into the dashboard to inform the results of the survey however, some results were excluded when the responders didn’t complete enough questions or omitted critical information like their where they lived or how old they were.

The participants were surveyed around different factors like their response to the pandemic, their hygiene habits, the mental health impact of the pandemic, their perception of how close or far from home COVID-19 is, their opinion on the government’s response, how the pandemic has impacted their health, income and overall lifestyle and community belonging.

The interactive map allows users to boil down to specific health regions. For example, in the Northern Health Authority, 39.4 per cent responders said they were working remotely as opposed to the provincial average of 55 per cent, 32 per cent perceived the virus to be far away from them as opposed to the provincial 22 per cent, 45 per cent observed their mental health worsening, 12.9 per cent said they weren’t working due to COVID while 71 per cent of those who were working said their work had been impaired.

Users can also look further under the health authorities to the sub-regions for more specific data. For example, under the Norther Health Authority, users will be able to boil down to Houston. 29.7 per cent responders from Houston said they were working remotely, 38.9 per cent respondents perceived the virus to be far away from them, a 36.6 per cent of respondents observed their mental health worsening, 13.8 per cent said they weren’t working due to COVID. Of those who were working, 55.2 per cent said their work had been impaired due to the pandemic.

Almost 13.1 per cent from Houston indicated that their alcohol intake had increased as opposed to the provincial 26.2 per cent respondents reporting an increase in the alcohol intake.

“We’ve built this dashboard as a tool not only for public health experts and leaders across BC, but also for all British Columbians to be able to access the ​data, see what’s happening in their communities, and understand the experiences of British Columbians. This is your dashboard—your information that almost 400,000 of you generously provided to help us better understand how you and your community are doing during this pandemic,” said Dr. Réka Gustafson, the deputy provincial health officer for the province, in a statement put out by the BC CDC Foundation for Public Health.

According to B.C. CDC, while the data was collected in May and has only been released publicly now, “many of the impacts continue to be felt and the data has been used by Public Health, government and community stakeholders in government since July to inform different public health guidance. For example the school re-openings, where we learned three in four households with children reported impaired learning and decreased social connections, which can have lifelong impacts.”

Some of the key findings of the survey are 96 per cent British Columbians were following public health advice, the pandemic had a greater mental health and economic burden on those aged 18 to 29 years and families with children, people with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds were impacted differently by the pandemic. Around 33 per cent people surveyed said they had avoided getting healthcare since the pandemic started.

Kristy Kerr, executive director of the BC CDC Foundation for Public Health said in their statement, “The survey and dashboard are the result of the dedicated efforts of researchers, experts, the public, and our donors and show what happens when we all work together to address a public health emergency. But we’re not done yet. Continuing to support this kind of research and evidence is even more critical now, and it is what will get us through this global pandemic.”

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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