SFU professors have created a map outlining the risk of secondary health impacts from the pandemic
Friday, May 21, 2021
Theres a long weekend?
That’s right folks, this weekend is a long weekend. I almost always forget a long weekend is coming until right before it arrives, and then I scramble to make sure I am making the most of it. I'm still unsure about my plans for this weekend, although one thing is certain: it will be local. Provincial travel restrictions are set to expire Tuesday, so if you’re an antsy vacationer, at least wait until then. (Also coming Tuesday: the next edition of this newsletter.) —Grace Kennedy, reporter
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A map of the region's vulnerability to the pandemic's secondary health impacts, like stress or depression, shows the risks aren't evenly distributed. 📸  Simon Fraser University map
Mapping the future impact of COVID-19

As the pandemic raged, some areas of the Fraser Valley were at higher risk than others. A combination of personal and place-based factors increased a community’s risk for COVID-19, a map created by SFU professors Valorie Crooks and Nadine Schuurman showed. Now that a post-vaccine world is on the horizon, Crooks and Schuurman have mapped where new risks are emerging—and they aren’t in the same places as before.

Secondary health impacts like stress, depression, and anxiety can be exacerbated by some of the things that kept some Fraser Valley neighbourhoods relatively safe: Harrison Hot Springs and parts of Aldergrove, for example, had relatively low vulnerability to COVID itself, but are at high risk for secondary health impacts post-pandemic. Communities with more retired residents may have been at lower risk for COVID transmission because they weren’t out in the workforce, but are at higher risk for loneliness and isolation. We talked to Crooks to learn more.

FVC: Some places that experienced low vulnerability in your 2020 map outlining COVID risks during the pandemic are actually high-risk for secondary health impacts. Why?

Valorie Crooks: “Some of the factors that have actually prevented people from experiencing risk are the same ones that may actually increase their own vulnerability to secondary health impacts. For example, many people that are retired are not in the workforce. They’re not engaging in those kinds of occupational risks that we see throughout the province where there’s many outbreaks happening. But at the same time, many of the measures that have been put in place are actually really isolating…

“You can see the same type of scenario in relation to children, where we really don’t see children as having that occupational involvement. But in relation to this new map, we know there are many children who are going to experience stress or other health impacts coming from the education disruption that they’ve gone through.”

FVC: What do you hope people take from the map?

VC: “You can see these impacts are not evenly distributed. It’s really important because we’re in a stage of the pandemic where we’re seeing an increasingly geographical approach being used by public health officials. We’re hearing things like hot spots, we’re hearing about communities at risk. So we’re at this point of taking this approach where we say some places need unique kinds of support… If we try to bring that thinking into the long-term secondary health impacts of the pandemic, then it can help us to really put our resources into creating those meaningful community-tailored supports that will help to address stress and depression. And we can do that now, early enough, so that we may actually even assist with offsetting some of it.”

Crooks said the goal of the mapping project was to remind people that the pandemic won’t end when the final patients leave the ICU. “There will be people who have never contracted COVID-19 during this pandemic, and they will have health impacts,” she said. “And these health impacts are going to be lasting.” She hopes that her map will help start a conversation about where people will need support, and bring those supports to them sooner rather than later.

To see the long-term risk in your neighbourhood, search the map.

— By Grace Kennedy
Need to Know
🏠 Mission seniors are beginning to move into the new Boswyk Centre, which has 74 affordable housing units. [Mission City Record]

😷 A Langley woman says an anti-masker berated, then physically assaulted her in a dog park. [Langley Advance Times]

❓ Abbotsford councillor Brenda Falk posted a message about Nazis on Facebook. Residents think it may be an allusion to COVID restrictions. [Global News]

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The Agenda
A group of Mission residents is hoping to raise $1 million to get a CT scanner in the local hospital. Currently, the hospital doesn’t have the key piece of medical equipment, which is used to diagnose serious ailments. Patients who need a scan must be sent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital. “We are the only Fraser Health Authority hospital west of Hope that does not have a CT scanner on site and it takes precious time to obtain a CT scanner for patients,” Dr. Andrew Edelson, of the Mission All Together for Healthcare Society, told council. Several council members said the local hospital wasn’t getting their “fair share.”

A new restaurant will be coming to Fort Langley. The former Lampliter Gallery Cafe and an adjacent building on Glover Road have been vacant for several years. Langley Township has agreed to let the buildings be demolished to make way for a new single-storey restaurant, with 80 seats inside and 40 more on a significant deck area. There are also plans for a playground area near the parking lot. The development is part of the Fort Langley Project, which aims to support Langley charities with profits from developments. It is headed by township Coun. Eric Woodward, who recused himself from the council decision on the project.
COVID latest
Teens wanting to get the COVID vaccine will be able to register for it on their own, without requiring parent permission. Youth ages 12 to 17 will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, as the Moderna vaccine is still undergoing trials in teens. Vaccines will be administered through community clinics, although there will be some vaccine clinics at schools and other youth-centric locations. Parents with an appointment can bring their children along with them to be vaccinated, without needing to pre-register. [BCCDC COVID data]

Fraser Health
  • New cases: 210 / 284 average (down 28% from one week ago)
  • 0 active outbreaks at hospitals / 2 active outbreaks in long-term care
  • School exposures: Abbotsford: 17 / Chilliwack: 3 / Langley: 7 / Mission: 10 / Fraser Cascade: 0
  • Workplace closures (May 19): 0
  • New cases: 357 /  445 average (down 25% from one week ago)
  • 331 hospitalizations (down 20% from one week ago)
  • 3 new deaths / 1,661 total
Your Favourite Patios

As summer approaches, we are showcasing 3 great patios from around the region each Friday! Here are the reader picks for this week:
Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford / BC Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar, Chilliwack / The Blackberry Kitchen, Mission

Do you have another favourite spot? Email us your go-to patio (and maybe send us a photo of you there!). You can also check out Chilliwack- and Abbotsford-specific lists created by others.
Around Town
🚲 The Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association is hosting its 40 Day Virtual Challenge starting May 24. Register online to log your rides and enter a prize draw.
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