Justin McElroy Profile picture
Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC Vancouver. Strives to tell unique stories. Opinions expressed belong to, I don't know, Xenu. justin.mcelroy@cbc.ca
8 May
I think the thing about reporters increasingly showing their frustration with B.C.'s transparency is that pretty much everybody has changed their lives in huge ways to deal with a deadly pandemic, and the province's communications strategy seems to have stayed the same.
Taking hours to provide information to some requests and weeks for others, providing data only when it can have a shiny bow on it, hearing requests for transparency changes and sticking with the status quo...that's politics.

Most reporters, at a certain level, accept that.
So you'll make a note in your story that the government didn't respond, or that B.C. lags behind province X in metric Y, or that you haven't gotten your FOI back, and move on. There's another story to cover. The daily battle for information continues.
Read 8 tweets
7 May
722 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today — the 19th straight day the province's rolling average has gone down, though this time only by a tiny bit.

Hospitalizations down to 445, and seven new deaths, highest since April 21.

Today's chart.
46,946 people received vaccine shots in B.C. yesterday (2nd highest in the campaign), including 3,605 second doses, the highest mark since February.

We're on pace for every adult getting their first dose in the next five weeks.
We've gone from 60-70 hospitalizations a day in B.C. to 30-50, which is why we're now seeing this decrease.

At the same time, it means we're still going to be over 300 hospitalizations, concentrated heavily in Fraser Health, for a while yet.
Read 4 tweets
7 May
Since today's emergency press conference on #COVID19 data in B.C. is telephone only, I'm going to use this thread to livetweet the questions and answers in a straightforward fashion, instead of the usual charts/context/jokes approach
Dr. Réka Gustafson begins the press conference, says she's going to "raise some awareness" on the public health surveillance done by B.C.

Explains how data is used for making decisions.

"It's an established process, and with every week and day we try to improve it."
Gustafson says the province "makes as much of the data as possible … available publicly."

Says "there has been a particular interest in the data".

Dr. Henry says the data "is for decision making" and there is weekly technical meetings.
Read 29 tweets
7 May
again, it's frankly embarrassing

Just say you don't want to share the information with the public instead of insultingly stringing along journalists for months.
What's probably going to happen is the government will provide information on neighbourhood case counts at some point in the near future.

They will applaud themselves for being transparent.
on a related note, the bccdc dashboard (which the government often trumpets as the way they are transparent) is having a "systems" issue for the third time in four days

it's fun, it's fun, i love it here
Read 6 tweets
6 May
684 new cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province's rolling average and active case count continues decline at a steady pace.

Hospitalizations now down to 457, the lowest since April 20.

One new death.

Today's chart.
A RECORD HIGH 52,266 people in B.C. were given a vaccine shot yesterday, as the doubling of Pfizer vaccine is starting to show dividends.

2,200 of those were second shots, and we'll start to see that number increase in the coming weeks.
Dr. Henry tried to centre today's announcement on B.C. getting to two million doses administered at some point today.

Celebrating big round numbers is fun, but providing regular data on vaccinations by age and city is even funner.
Read 4 tweets
6 May
News out of Prince Rupert continues to be good.

Two months ago, it was the hotspot for transmission in British Columbia.

85% of adults were given a vaccine shot.

Weekly #COVID19 cases fell from more than 100 to 3.

Then they went to 2.

Last week, there was ONE CASE.
everyone says bring back the boring chart but really let's have the prince rupert chart for the entire province
More good news!

One month ago, the B.C.'s transmission hotspot was Whistler.

Everyone there was given a chance to get a shot.

There were 410 cases in their local health area at the peak.

Last week, there were 39.

A 95% reduction, three weeks after mass vaccination.
Read 4 tweets
5 May
572 cases of #COVID19 in B.C. today, the lowest number since March 20, as B.C.'s curve continues to bend down at a VERY encouraging pace.

Hospitalizations down to 481, and zero new deaths.

Today's chart.
33,068 people given a vaccine shot in B.C. yesterday, 1,412 of which were a second dose — highest number since early March.

Stilllllll waiting for that ramp up in daily numbers which *should* happen very soon now.
Because of a data correction, the charts record negative three #COVID19 deaths in B.C. today.

(the province says there were zero)

As you can see, it doesn't change the rolling average all that substantially for the moment.
Read 10 tweets
5 May
It's Wednesday, which means detailed hospitalization numbers in B.C. dropped.

Once again, a big change in cases to "young people" did not happen.

As hospitalizations plummet in people 80+, the dominant age brackets reflected are those in their 60s and 70s.
Over the course of the pandemic, just over 11% of all ICU cases of #COVID19 in B.C. were in people under the age of 40.

In the most recent week of data, it was 7%.
I keep pointing out this lack of change in health outcomes and case counts in the 3rd wave for a couple of reasons.

One is Horgan, "don't blow this", and all that jazz.

But the other is many people were very confident something was happening in B.C., or about to happen.
Read 4 tweets
4 May
697 new cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province's rolling average and active case count continues to go down at a steady pace.

Hospitalizations back up to 486, as it's still on that plateau.

One new death.

Today's chart.
Another 32,832 people received a vaccine shot in B.C. yesterday, as we wait for the Pfizer doubling of supply to show up in the daily figures.

It's a fairly static story at the moment.
Just one death today is encouraging — but last Tuesday there were zero deaths, so the rolling average actually goes up.

It's fortunate we haven't seen a spike due to vaccinations, it's frustrating that preventing a 3rd wave means we're still seeing 1-7 deaths each day.
Read 6 tweets
4 May
when you put in your census code and it's the long form
so far there is no section of the long form census asking how many parks you ranked in the last year BUT I HAVE FAITH
prior to completing a long form census i had no idea how important it was to continually affirm that i do not live on a farm or do any farming-related activities
Read 4 tweets
3 May
Frustratingly, the BCCDC has had another "systems issue" today, which is code for "you're not getting much data".

So limited extra numbers today.

We had around 164 hospitalizations the last three days — down from the 60-70 peak, but still way too high.
88% of all #COVID19 hospitalizations in B.C. now are in the Lower Mainland.

In the rest of B.C., it's less than 10 a day, and going down.
For the first time since cases began declining in the 3rd wave, we saw a decent drop in active cases in Fraser Health.

We've talked about one (or even three days) worth of data not being enough to draw conclusions many times during this, but let's hope that dip continues. Image
Read 5 tweets
3 May
An average of 725 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. over the last three days, a 13% drop from the previous Monday, as the province's 3rd wave trendline continues to drop.

Encouragingly, hospitalizations down to 474, lowest since April 20.

15 new deaths.

Today's chart. Image
An average of 30,203 people given a vaccine shot in B.C. over the last three days, slightly down from the previous two weekends.

As we've talked about, doubling of weekly Pfizer supply kicks in NOW, and we see whether the province can do one final ramp up of distribution. ImageImage
i missed the point in the metaphor where we went from the marathon to the bridge of the uss enterprise, but star trek time travel episodes always had one or two logic gaps
Read 7 tweets
3 May
Here's an interview with Dr. Bonnie Henry talking about B.C.'s #COVID19 response in October.

The video was released in November, and this weekend some have argued she advocates for a Swedish model to deal with the pandemic.

Having watched the video, seems Dr. Henry repeats a philosophy she's had though the pandemic:

- Eliminating the virus is impossible, so we have to live with it for the time being
- Lockdowns have harmful effects
- Keeping schools open is important

Nothing all that new.
Of course, since the interview happened in October, the limits to a non-COVID Zero approach (unless you have massive test and trace operations) have become quite stark.

And people are angrier today than they were six months ago.

So the tone around these things has shifted.
Read 4 tweets
22 Apr
I have tremendous news about Prince Rupert.

In March, the B.C. city of 12,000 had the highest #COVID19 transmission rate in the province.

Every adult was offered the chance to be vaccinated.

At the peak, there were more than 100 weekly cases.

Last week, there were 3.
For those outside B.C., there isn't a city with more than 15,000 people within 500 km of Prince Rupert, and it's effectively surrounded by water on three sides.

It's an ideal place to measure mass vaccinations in an urban setting.

And the evidence is wonderful.
this is now my new favourite fact about prince rupert, eclipsing this very real gift

Read 4 tweets
21 Apr
The week after we heard several anecdotal stories about #COVID19 hospitalizations suddenly much more concentrated in young people, it was pretty much the exact same proportion of the entire pandemic
I went through the reasons for this last week, but it bears repeating: our eyes can play tricks on us, and faster data from the government would help a lot in our understanding of this pandemic

And of course, hospitalizations are up, new weekly patients are now at much higher levels than the 2nd wave, and it's not like hospitals have a lot of excess space at the best of times
Read 4 tweets
20 Apr
849 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province's 3rd wave keeps showing signs of a plateau, though less in the way of a real fall.

Hospitalizations continue to rise — now at a record 456, with a record 148 in critical care.

One death.

Today's chart.
An additional 34,484 people were vaccinated in B.C. yesterday, which is actually less than the previous Monday (supply of Pfizer/Moderna a little low right now).

Will be interesting to see if there's an AZ surge in the coming days given the wider availability.
Active cases: down 9%
People under active monitoring: down 16%

We've got some good signs, and the time until enough people are vaccinated to have a significant impact on transmission can now be measured in weeks rather than months.

Let's keep making good decisions.
Read 4 tweets
20 Apr
B.C.'s $69 billion budget includes a projected deficit of $9.7 billion this year, as the province plans for large contingency funds to help groups both during the pandemic and in the recovery afterwards.

A few highlights in the thread to come!
Deficits are projected indefinitely: $9.7 billion this year, $5.5 billion next, $4.3 billion in 2023/2024.

But the province promises that in the next year B.C. would provide a detailed timeline and approach “to a return to fiscal balance.”
Most of the big had been previously announced in the election or the last couple months, including free transit for children under the age of 12, and a permanent $175/month increase to income and disability assistance (though down from $300/month during the pandemic)
Read 8 tweets
19 Apr
An average of 986 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province is starting to show real signs of plateauing the 3rd wave.

At the same time, because of the lag between hospitalizations and cases, a record high 441 in hospital.

Today's chart. Image
Hospitalizations are still going up at a high pace.

But they went up 4% this weekend, compared to 11% last weekend.

If trends hold, they will plateau later this week, at least temporarily.

(I really hope trends hold) Image
Horgan is asked by @richardzussman about the details of this surprise travel roadcheck announcement.

There are not many details yet.

Because the details are still being figured out, and will come later in the month.

If you are someone confused I do not blame you!
Read 8 tweets
19 Apr
British Columbia is making the AZ vaccine available to everyone 40+, and will be having special clinics focused on the following 13 communities Image
The current restrictions are being extended until the end of the May long weekend, five weeks from now.

No new restrictions appear to be coming in today, but interprovincial travel ones appear to be in the works.
john horgan, truly a child of the 70s, is introducing a new generation of people to the term "winnebago"
Read 8 tweets
9 Apr
Hey folks!

Let's do a thread, with a couple of new charts, looking at where B.C. is at in the pandemic, and what we can say is very concerning, decently concerning, and not too concerning.

one might wonder who this will help at this point, but i follow the advice of the teens
What's very concerning?

Overall transmission.

It continues to go up, and the rolling average/active case trendline is not slowing down one bit right now.

Until it does, there's lots of worry of this getting out of control, in a way B.C. has avoided to this point.
Here are the daily numbers from B.C. to Quebec today, adjusted if they all had B.C.'s population:

BC: 1293
Alberta: 1570
Saskatchewan: 891
Manitoba: 514
Ontario: 1152
Quebec: 969

Collective failure in non-COVID Zero provinces (except Manitoba, for now) to prevent a 3rd wave.
Read 14 tweets
7 Apr
997 new cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today — but for the first time in three weeks, the rolling average has gone down.

However, active cases still up, people in critical care at a record 105, and two new deaths.

Today's chart.
After a slow long weekend, B.C. is back to its previous pace on vaccinations, with 34,040 done yesterday, as we reach the 20% mark of eligible people getting at least one shot.

The daily number can go up by a little bit with current supply, but not by too much.
The numbers today are somewhat encouraging, within the the context of the last three weeks of #OperationDontBlowThis

But a rise in hospitalizations is inevitable for a bit because of the lag from cases.

People in critical care now up 33% in a week.
Read 7 tweets