Which areas of the Fraser Valley are most at risk from the secondary health effects of COVID-19?
SFU researchers have released a data map showing where these impacts will be felt most across the Lower Mainland.
“This map can help us to understand where policy and public health efforts should be focused as we continue through the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the SFU study.
“Overall, social, economic, and policy changes undertaken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will have profound impacts on the health of British Columbians for well into the foreseeable future.”
The study, “Mapping the COVID-19 pandemic’s secondary health impacts,” evaluates job insecurity, housing insecurity, occupational burnout, loneliness and isolation, and educational disruption.
It posits these stressors may lead to anxiety, depression, psychological distress exacerbate symptoms of existing chronic illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder, and malnutrition from food insecurity.
“The magnitude of these secondary health impacts varies between places based on the nature of who lives there and the kinds of activities they undertake,” the study says.
“We also know that people who already experience social disadvantage (e.g., those experiencing poverty, those who are homeless or precariously housed, people identifying as disabled or racialized) are likely to experience the greatest secondary impacts to their health.”
The model used for the data was drawn from the “best information and science available,” according to the study, but there are limitations to take into account.
These include variables with an individual’s health risks, reliance on data from Census Canada, and the limitations on neighbourhood-level data from Statistics Canada.
“Finally, our maps are based upon the current evidence, which will likely shift as time passes and policies and programs provide, or do not provide, needed supports.”
Housing insecurity was based on the density of homeless shelters, percentage of tenants in subsidized housing, and percent of households spending 30 per cent or more of their income on housing.
Across the Fraser Valley, the areas deemed high risk for housing were close to downtown centres.
|Map showing neighbourhoods most at risk from housing insecurity. The darker shades represent a higher risk.|
Job insecurity was measured by the unemployment rate, and percentage of people working in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, retail trade, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services industries.
|Map showing neighbourhoods most at risk from job insecurity.|
Occupational burnout examined the number of lone-parent households, percent of working population in health care, social assistance, and educational services.
|Map showing neighbourhoods most at risk from occupational burnout.|
For loneliness and isolation, the percentage of the population aged 65 and over, and the percent of private single-dwelling homes was looked at.
The rural areas surrounding Hope was the highest-risk area in the Fraser Valley.
|Map showing area surrounding Hope as most at risk from health risk loneliness and isolation.|
The data map shows educational disruption, which measured the percentage of population aged five to 19, had a high risk effect across the Lower Mainland.