Left to right: Nadine Schuurman and Valorie Crooks

issues and experts

SFU researchers to map B.C. communities’ vulnerability to COVID-19

July 09, 2020


Valorie Crooks, Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies, 604.417.9007, crooks@sfu.ca

Melissa Shaw; University Communications and Marketing, 236.880.3297, melissa_shaw@sfu.ca

Simon Fraser University geography professors Valorie Crooks and Nadine Schuurman are working to identify which communities in B.C. are most vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The team will identify those communities which may not be able to meet health service needs if there is a spike in COVID-19 infections locally, including communities lacking adequate ICU capacity.

The researchers will also ascertain areas experiencing higher rates of secondary health impacts caused by the pandemic, including reduced access to income and affordable housing.

According to Crooks, the pair will collect the best available information and science on various emerging vulnerabilities and confirm these factors with local public health officials. They’ll use the information to create models and develop sophisticated, easy to follow maps.

“We’re going to be making a series of maps focused on decision-making for communities so they can visually start to see particular places that are at risk,” she says. “These maps will help decision-makers with allocating resources to communities in need.”

Their work is supported by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research under the COVID-19 Research Response Fund.