issues and experts

Mapping COVID-19 vulnerability in B.C. communities – SFU expert available

December 24, 2020

Simon Fraser University geography professor Valorie Crooks is available to discuss maps identifying COVID-19 risks in various neighbourhoods across B.C. Created by Crooks and a team of SFU researchers, the maps are designed to help guide policymakers and administrators by identifying areas of the province that are most in need of additional supports to prevent and manage outbreaks.

The maps are searchable by city/town name and consider a number of personal risk factors. These include use of public transit, working outside the home, being non-English speaking, living in a large or crowded household, experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage or being employed in a high-risk industry. The maps also consider place-based risk factors in neighbourhoods such as the presence of prisons, mines, and long-term care sites.

The maps are based on census data and publicly-available addresses, while public health professionals across the province also provided input. 

Crooks says the maps can also help to inform vaccine roll-out planning, and combined with epidemiological data, could help to better understand the potential effectiveness of existing public health measures. The maps can also show where risks are not materializing into COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

“These maps help to highlight the complexity that exists around understanding COVID-19 risks in B.C.’s neighbourhoods,” says Crooks. “They show how side-by-side neighbourhoods throughout the province can have very different levels of risk, which has important implications for the types of public health measures that should be in place."

“They also highlight how the neighbourhoods most vulnerable to seeing high rates of COVID-19 have overlapping risks. This helps to support the province’s current approach of having several strategies in place simultaneously to offset these risks.”

The research is supported by a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the BC SUPPORT Unit.


VALORIE CROOKS Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies,


MATT KIELTYKA,  SFU Communications & Marketing 
236.880.2187 | 

MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 | 

Simon Fraser University 
Communications & Marketing | SFU Media Experts Directory 


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