For the first time, the Province has released more specific data about where COVID-19 cases have occurred.
The most recent release of cumulative cases from January to July breaks down the health regions into local health areas (LHA). It shows the Smithers LHA, which includes the communities of Smithers, Telkwa, Witset, Houston and Topley has recorded five confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The Hazeltons (Upper Skeena LHA) has had no infections.
LHAs are further broken down into Community Health Service Areas (CHSA) of which there are three in the Smithers LHA, Smithers Rural (surrounding area including Witset and Telkwa), Smithers Town Centre, and Houston (surrounding area including Topley).
Data for each of CHSAs is not available, however.
According to CHSA profiles there are 18,405 people in the Smithers LHA indicating an infection rate of more than 25 per 100,000 population.
In the Northwest Health Service Delivery Area (HSDA) there are 10 LHAs. Of these only Smithers, Terrace, Kitimat and Haida Gwaii have recorded cases. Terrace has had six, Kitimat three and Haida Gwaii 20.
For heavily populated areas of the province, such as Lower Mainland, the release provided city-level data for the first time, but not for more sparsely populated areas such as the Northwest.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are enough cases now that privacy is no longer an issue.
Initially, reporting was only done at the health authority level, or for specific outbreaks such as health facilities and meat-packing plants. As the pandemic progressed, reporting expanded to the HSDA level and now for LHAs.