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BC health officials react to ‘leaked’ COVID-19 data

BC health officials held a sudden call-in press conference on Friday afternoon.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson addressed the media following accusations that BC has been withholding COVID-19 data from the public.

On Thursday, the Vancouver Sun published leaked documents obtained by the paper that provide details about case counts and vaccination numbers at the neighbourhood level.

Despite many provinces making such information public, BC had stopped short of sharing such data.

However, Henry insisted that much of the leaked data is available to the public through different methods such as their monthly data modelling presentations.

According to Henry, the data modelling presentations provide proper context, suggesting there’s a process the data needs to go through before becoming meaningful.

“The data is looked at over a period of time because a small sample size is unstable,” she said.

“It’s more about what is the trend, which can be better considered on a monthly basis.”

Despite saying the data technically is available, Henry also suggested the province will soon begin providing data on new geographical units dubbed "community health service areas."

Smaller than the current health authority regions reported on, the geographical units will offer case and vaccination numbers on a community level.

Henry said BC can expect to see the new information via BC Centre for Disease Control in the coming weeks.

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