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COVID-19: Accessible Information

Page last updated: September 24, 2020 (Updated on Mondays; "Number of Cases in Ontario" and "Number of Cases in Quebec" will be updated Mondays and Thursdays)

As the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation unfolds in Canada and around the world, news sites, public health agencies, universities and other organizations are publishing charts and graphs to explain data in easy to understand ways such as the flattening the curve model and the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, people with print disabilities or individuals with slower internet connections are generally left out of the loop since these images are inaccessible to assistive technologies or images cannot load properly due to a lack of bandwidth. NNELS believes that this information should be accessible to everyone. In order to fill this gap, we are providing this information in alternative accessible formats such as text descriptions and use of sonification tools by producing some key charts/graphs and linking to other resources with accessible information. Sonification refers to the use of sound other than speech to convey information such as the height of a bar or the curve of a line. While we will primarily be focusing on data relevant to Canada, some information may be helpful to international readers.

If you have any issues accessing the data or find any errors, please don't hesitate to contact us. You may wish to bookmark this page as it will be updated often with new information.

On this page:


How to access the graphs and maps on this page

When exploring this page, you will find contextual information followed by a detailed text description. Below the description are links to the same data available in additional formats.

In order to access graphs and maps produced by NNELS, you will need access to Google Chrome, and have the SAS Accelerator extension.

Once the SAS accelerator is installed, select the sonification link. A new page will load displaying an optimized image of the visualization for low vision users, generated by SAS Accelerator, along with an "Accelerate" button. When you activate the button, a new view will load which allows you to now explore the graph or map auditorily.

If you are accessing a graph, press the arrow keys to explore individual pieces of data or press ‘v’ to switch to Scan Mode. In Scan Mode, you can press the left or right arrow key to have it play the entire data set. You can switch back into Explore Mode, which is the default setting when you load a graph, by typing ‘v’ again. If you are viewing a map, use your page up and page down keys to see all the locations around your position. By default, you are placed in the centre of the map. To obtain a list of additional keyboard commands Press 'h'. You can also tab to the "Settings" button to adjust verbosity and sound options. If there are issues with navigating the graph or the settings menu, please check to see if your screen reader's browse mode or its equivalent is turned off. Further documentation can be found on the SAS website.

For even more sonifications of data such as charts and maps, you may wish to check out the COVID-19 by the Numbers page from SAS and the A11Y COVID-19 project from the Smith-Kettlewell Research Institute.

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"Flattening the Curve" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Image: Flattening the Curve from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6665558/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve/

Flattening the curve refers to the concept that if everyone becomes ill around the same time, the healthcare system will be quickly overwhelmed and will unable to treat patients in need of care. If public health strategies are taken to reduce the spread of infection on any given day, hospitals will have the capacity to care for people who are sick.

Note that this graph is not country specific and will not change since there is no dynamic information.

Text Description:

A graph showing one line, running horizontally through the middle which represents the Health Care System Capacity, and two curves, one representing the cases without protective measures, and the other, representing Cases with protective measures, (the flattened curve).  The Y-axis is labelled as "Daily number of cases and the "X-axis, is labeled as "Time since outbreak".  There are no numbers on either axis.

The curve representing "Cases without protective measures" starts at the bottom left corner and steeply rises past the "Capacity of the healthcare" line to a sharp curve at the top of the graph where it then steeply drops back down to the bottom. This line is symmetrical and is in the shape of a triangle with a rounded peak. Note that as this curve descends to the right side, it intersects with the "Capacity of the healthcare" line and the line representing "Cases with protective measures" just before the curve begins to flatten. The line representing "cases with protective measures" starts at the bottom left corner, gradually increases at first, before rising slightly more steeply, where it stays just below the "capacity of the healthcare line", and flattens out, before it gradually goes back down to the bottom. This curve is shaped like a small hill or an arch that rises and falls gradually and equally on both sides.

Other Accessible Versions

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Epidemic Curve

Data is based on 137,163 reported cases in Canada as of September 20, 2020, 7:00 PM EDT.

***Important Note*** The shaded area in the image (described below) represents a period of time (lag time) where it is expected that cases have occurred but have not yet been reported nationally. There is an approximate 1 to 2 week delay when a person becomes ill and when their information is reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as a result of the time required to seek healthcare, get tested and receive results. It also takes time for public health authorities to gather information on cases. Therefore, new information will be provided as it becomes available.. 

If date of illness onset was not available, the earliest of the following dates was used as an estimate in the following order: Specimen Collection Date, and Laboratory Testing Date.

Image: COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset (September 20, 2020). Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a4


Text Description

A bar graph with vertical bars depicting the COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset. The X-axis is labelled as "Date of Illness onset" (from January 15, 2020 to September 14, 2020) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of Reported Cases" which range from 0 to 2,000, in increments of 200. The shape of the bar graph starts out flat with a few very short bars at first (from January 15 to the end of February), then gradually increases in height. The bars steeply increase (with occasional drops between days), peak on April 13 with nearly 2000 cases, then decrease, (in a general inverted "v" shape) until the first week of July. The lines then grow, until July 14, peaking at 600 before decreasing again, until around mid-August when the graph begins to slowly trend upward again, peaking at just over 600 in the first week of September.

The graph’s background is partially shaded from September 6 until September 20, where the graph ends. This indicates a period of lag time where, according to the Government of Canada, cases may have occurred but have not yet been reported nationally. Visually, the dates on the X-axis are shown for every three days, but there are bars for each day. Full data can be found on this page: Epidemic Curve: COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset - Table.

Other Accessible Versions

This Epidemic Curve graph is also available auditorily using sonification, here; (general instructions on how to access these charts can be found at the top of this page).

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Distribution of COVID-19 cases in Canada by Age and Gender

Data is based on 140,463 reported cases in Canada as of September 20, 2020, 7:00 PM EDT.

Note that due to lag times in data being reported, numbers should be used to observe trends and should not be taken as absolute.

Image: Age distribution of COVID-19 cases in Canada as of September 20, 2020, 7 PM EDT. Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a7


Text Description

A graph with horizontal bars depicting the Age and gender distribution of COVID-19 cases. The Y-axis is labelled as "Age group (years)", and the X-axis is labelled as "Number (Proportion(%))", which range from 0 to 26,000 in increments of 2000. Each bar has three colours: dark blue (for males), light blue (for females), and black (for other). Each portion of each bar shows the number of cases, and the proportion.

The groups with the least number of case reports are those who are aged 70-79 (around 9,000 cases), followed by those who are 19 or younger (just under 14,000 cases). From this number, the bars almost double for age groups 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50-59 (20 to 24,000 cases each). The bars decrease through ages 60-69 and 70-79, before sharply rising in the 80+ age group, which has over 18,000 cases.

For all age groups, the black (other) portion makes up less than a tenth of a percent of the proportion of cases. For ages under 19 to 79, the dark blue (male) and light blue (female) proportions are roughly equal, from around 45-50% male, and 49-55% female. In the 80+ age group, males account for just under one-third of all cases.

Complete data can be read in this table: Age distribution of COVID-19 cases in Canada - Table.

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Number of COVID-19 cases by province and territory

Data is based on 143,649 cases in Canada as of September 20, 2020.

Note: The total number includes publicly reported confirmed and probable cases. Due to lag times in data being reported, numbers should be used to observe trends and should not be taken as absolute.

Image: Number of COVID-19 cases by province and territory (September 20, 2020). Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a3

 


Text Description

A map of Canada shows the number of cases by province, using progressively darker shades of blue for provinces with higher concentrations of cases. Quebec is dark navy blue, indicating (according to the legend) that it has more than 50,000 cases. Ontario is a slightly lighter shade than Quebec, indicating 30,001 to 50,000 cases. Alberta is the next lighter shade, which indicates between 10,001 and 30,000 cases. The next lighter shade, indicating between 5,001 and 10,000 cases, appears in British Columbia. At the next lighter shade are Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia, indicating from 1,001 to 5,000 cases; then at the lightest shade of blue, indicating between 1 and 1000 cases, are the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Finally, shaded in grey is Nunavut, with zero cases.

Precise data is provided in the following table:

Location Number of Cases
Canada 143,649
British Columbia 7,842
Alberta 16,381
Saskatchewan 1,807
Manitoba 1,586
Ontario 46,849
Quebec 67,542
Newfoundland and Labrador 272
New Brunswick 194
Nova Scotia 1,086
Prince Edward Island 57
Yukon 15
Northwest Territories 5
Nunavut 0

Other Accessible Versions

This data on the number of total cases in Canada is also available auditorily using sonification, here; (general instructions on how to access these charts can be found at the top of this page).

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Number of deaths by province and territory

Data is based on 9,217 reported cases in Canada as of September 20, 2020.

Note: The total number includes publicly reported confirmed and probable cases. 

Image: Number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by province and territory (September 20, 2020). Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html?stat=num&measure=deaths#a2


Text Description

A map of Canada shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths by province, using progressively darker shades of blue for provinces with higher concentrations of cases. Quebec is the darkest shade, indicating (according to the legend) that it they have had 5,001 or more deaths. The next lighter shade is Ontario, indicating between 2,501 and 5,000 deaths. On the legend, the next lighter shades indicate between 1,001 and 2,500 deaths; and 501 to 1,000 deaths; no provinces have these colours/numbers. British Columbia and Alberta are the next lighter shade, at between 101 to 500 deaths. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, are the next lighter shade, indicating between 1 and 100 deaths. Finally, shaded in grey, are the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Prince Edward Island, each with zero deaths.

Precise data is provided in the following table:

Location Number of Deaths
Canada 9,217
British Columbia 223
Alberta 255
Saskatchewan 24
Manitoba 16
Ontario 2,827
Quebec 5,802
Newfoundland and Labrador 3
New Brunswick 2
Nova Scotia 65
Prince Edward Island 0
Yukon 0
Northwest Territories 0
Nunavut 0

Other Accessible Versions

This data on the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Canada is also available auditorily using sonification, here; (general instructions on how to access these charts can be found at the top of this page).

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Number of Cases in Ontario by Date

Text Description

Note that some increases in cases on certain days may be due to delays or data adjustments. Please follow your local news and use this graph as supplementary material.

Dataset retrieved from https://github.com/ishaberry/Covid19Canada

A bar graph with vertical bars depicting the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario. The X-axis is labelled as "Date" (from January 25, 2020 to September 23, 2020) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of New Cases" which range from 0 to 800. The shape of the bar graph starts out flat with a few very short bars at first (from January 25 to March 9), then very gradually increase in height, from March 10 to March 31, with 260 cases. The bar for April 1 is drastically taller than all other bars indicating a peak with 885 cases. From April 2 with 437 cases all the way to August 16 with 48 cases, we can see a general downwards trend with spikes gradually getting shorter and shorter. From August 17 to September 23 with 344 cases, we can see an upwards trend where bars are increasing in height.

Complete data can be read in this table: Number of COVID-19 Cases in Ontario - Table.

Other Accessible Versions

This data on the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario is also available auditorily using sonification, here; (general instructions on how to access these charts can be found at the top of this page).

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Number of Cases in Quebec

Text description:

Note that some increases in cases on certain days may be due to delays or data adjustments. Please follow your local news and use this graph as supplementary material.

Dataset retrieved from https://github.com/ishaberry/Covid19Canada

A bar graph with vertical bars depicting the number of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec. The X-axis is labelled as "Date" (from January 25, 2020 to September 23, 2020) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of New Cases" which range from 0 to 2,000. The shape of the bar graph starts out flat with a few very short bars at first from January 25 to March 22 with 38 cases. On March 23, the bar drastically jumps in height with 409 cases, then continues to increase in height with drops between days. It peaks on May 3 with 2203 cases, then decreases From May 4 to June 15 with 101 cases. From June 15 till the end of the graph which ends on September 23 with 471 cases, it stays relatively flat and then increases, near the end.

Complete data can be read in this table: Number of COVID-19 Cases in Quebec - Table.

Other Accessible Versions

This data on the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec is also available auditorily using sonification, here; (general instructions on how to access these charts can be found at the top of this page).

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COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action

On April 9th, the Government of Canada released a technical document: COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action." This PDF document, available for download (download COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action), includes a number of graphs and figures.

Read Text Descriptions for images in COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action.

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Rate of Spread of New COVID-19 Cases by Location

Text description based on an interactive graph shared in a CBC article on March 27, 2020. Read the article.

Text Description

An interactive line chart depicting the rate of spread of COVID-19 cases by day per location. To show where British Columbia is on the curve, additional curves are drawn to help readers compare other districts. The X-axis is labelled as "Days", beginning with "Day 1" and ending at "Day 15." The Y-axis is labelled as "Total COVID-19 cases announced by different jurisdiction with Day 1 marked by the first time it had more than 100 positives." The values on the Y-axis go up exponentially and starts at "100" for day 1. The remaining values on the Y-axis are "1000" and "10,000." There are twenty faint lines extending across the chart, horizontally, equally spaced, with the first and the eleventh lines coming from where "100" and "1000" are labelled. These lines are to help readers identify values by looking at where the curves intersect.

Visually, the days on the X-axis are shown for only the odd days but the values for the number of cases are available for each day. They are hidden until the user interacts with the chart. When you hover over a dot on the graph, it will tell you the day number, the place, and the number of cases.

Each place is represented by a dotted line. Every line begins at the bottom left corner of the graph and then rises to the upper right side. Specific trends along with certain values are written out in this description and provided as a table. However, since no data was provided, we only share the values that can be seen in the chart.

British Columbia begins with a steep line which rises to day 3 with 231 cases. From Day 3, the slope of the line increases slightly with a shallow curve to day 6 with 424 cases. From day 6, the curve steadily rises with a few jags to day 9 with 617 cases. From day 9, the line continues to slope gently upwards, almost plateauing and with a few small spikes, all the way to Day 15 with 970 cases.

Alberta starts with a steep incline to day 4 with 207 cases. from day 4 the line continues with a very slight slope upwards to day 10 with 486 cases. From day 10, it flattens out but still has a very slight upwards curve to day 13 which has 661 cases

Ontario Starts out with a very steep line to day 3 with 177 cases. From day 3, the line continues to rise with less of a steep incline to day 10 with 503 cases. From day 10, the line continues with a wide curve upwards all the way to day 15 with 1144 cases.

Washington State begins with a steep line with a slight curve to day 6 with 457 cases. From day 6 the line continues with a gentle curve upwards to day 14 which has 1500 cases. From day 14 to day 15, there is a slight spike which ends with 1800 cases.

United Kingdom starts out with a steep curve to day 6 with 459 cases. The line flattens out at day 7 also with 459 cases. From day 7 to day 12 which has 2600 cases, the line continues to rise with few very minor jags. From day 12, the line continues upwards with a very slight slope to day 13 with 2700 cases. From day 13, it becomes an incredibly steep curve to day 15 with 5100 cases.

Switzerland starts out with a steep curve to day 4 with 337 cases. From day 4 to day 5 which has 374 cases, it continues with a shallow curve. From day 5 the line changes to a steep curve to day 7 with 652 cases. The line flattens out since days 7 and 8 have the same number of cases. From day 8 the line curves up drastically with a few minor bumps to day 11 with 2200 cases. The line plateaus at day 12 with 2200 cases as well. From day 12 it continues as a steep curve with a few bumps to day 15 with 4100 cases.

France begins with a slight curve to day 4 with 204 cases.  From day 4 it becomes a very steep curve with a few bumps along the way to day 15 with 6700 cases.

Italy has the highest starting point from day 1 with 155 cases. From day 1 to day 15, the line steeply rises, going straight up with a few bumps along the way ending with a cumulative number of 7400 cases.

Spain begins with an incredibly steep curve with slight bumps, to day 10 with 2300 cases. From day 10 to day 11 with 5200 cases, the line continues as a straight line that is nearly pointing straight up with a slight bend. From day 11, it becomes a steep upwards curve to day 15 with 11700 cases. The curve is not as drastically steep compared to Days 10 and 11. 

Read this information in a table: Rate of Spread - Table.

At the bottom of the chart is a caption which reads:
“Information via CBC News and Johns Hopkins University. Figures after 1,000 rounded to the nearest hundred.
Chart: Justin McElroy"

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Accessible Instructions

Finding instructions in an accessible format and that is descriptive enough to follow can be a challenge. In this section, you will find a list of links to accessible instructions such as making face masks and how to properly wash hands.

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Accessible Videos

COVID-19 information shared as videos are not always accessible due to a lack of access to visual elements on the screen. In this section, you will find videos described by the NNELS accessibility team such as simulations.

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Additional Resources

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