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COVID-19: Accessible Information

Page last updated: April 15, 2021. Note: This page is updated weekly, on Mondays. Additional updates are made to the sections on Thursdays: Number of New Cases in Ontario, by Date, and Number of New Cases in Quebec, by Date.

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 1,026,694 reported cases in Canada as of April 9, 2021, 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..

Image: COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset (April 9, 2021). 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 April 9, 2021) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of Reported Cases" which range from 0 to 9,000, in increments of 1,000. The overall shape of the graph is an uneven W shape, with a low peak in mid-April 2020 (around 2,000 cases) and larger peaks in late December 2021/early January, 2021 (around 9,000), and around 5,500 in late March.

The bar graph starts out flat with a few very short bars at first (from January 15, 2020 to the end of February, 2020), which gradually increases in height. The bars steeply increase (with occasional drops between days), peak on April 13 with just over 2000 cases, then decrease, (in a general inverted "v" shape) until the first week of July. The bars drop to around 500 cases per day until late August when they being to increase steadily, peaking at nearly 10,000 in the last week of December.

The graph’s background is partially shaded from March 26 until April 9, 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 7 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 1,024,039 reported cases in Canada as of April 9, 2021, 7:00 PM EST.

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 April 9, 2021, 7 PM EST. 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 220,000 in increments of 20,000. 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 graph shows:

  • Under 19: just over 180,000 cases
  • 20-29: around 190,000 cases
  • 30-39: just over 160,000 cases
  • 40-49: around 150,000 cases
  • 50-59: just under 140,000 cases
  • 60-69: just over 80,000 cases
  • 70-79: just under 50,000 cases
  • 80+ : just over 60,000 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 46-50% male, and 49-54% female. In the 80+ age group, males account for just over 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 active COVID-19 cases by province and territory

Data is based on 73,447 cases in Canada as of April 11, 2021.

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 active COVID-19 cases by province and territory (April 11, 2021). 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 active cases by province, using progressively darker shades of blue for provinces with higher concentrations of cases. From darkest to lighest:

  • More than 30,000 cases: Ontario
  • 10,000 to 29,999 cases:  Alberta; Quebec
  • 5,000 to 9,999 cases: British Columbia
  • 500 to 4,999 cases: Saskatchewan; Manitoba
  • 50 to 499 cases: New Brunswick
  • 1 to 49 cases: The Northwest Territories; Newfoundland/Labrador; Prince Edward Island; Nova Scotia
  • 0 cases: The Yukon; Nunavut

Precise data is provided in the following table:

Location Number of Cases
Canada 73,447
British Columbia 9,709
Alberta 14,293
Saskatchewan 2,504
Manitoba 1,312
Ontario 32,817
Quebec 12,602
Newfoundland and Labrador 14
New Brunswick 149
Nova Scotia 40
Prince Edward Island 6
Yukon 0
Northwest Territories 1
Nunavut 0

Other Accessible Versions

This data on the number of active 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 COVID-19 cases by province and territory

Data is based on 1,060,157 cases in Canada as of April 11, 2021.

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 (April 11, 2021). 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 confirmed cases by province, using progressively darker shades of blue for provinces with higher concentrations of cases. From darkest to lighest:

  • 300,000 cases and higher: Quebec; Ontario
  • 100,000 to 299,999 cases: British Columbia; Alberta
  • 50,000 to 99,999 cases: Nowhere
  • 10,000 to 49,999 cases: Saskatchewan; Manitoba
  • 1,000 to 9,999 cases: Newfoundland/Labrador; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia
  • 1-999 cases: The Yukon; The Northwest Territories; Nunavut; Prince Edward Island

Precise data is provided in the following table:

Location Number of Cases
Canada 1,060,157
British Columbia 109,540
Alberta 160,902
Saskatchewan 36,305
Manitoba 35,213
Ontario 386,608
Quebec 326,383
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,029
New Brunswick 1,722
Nova Scotia 1,768
Prince Edward Island 162
Yukon 74
Northwest Territories 43
Nunavut 395

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 23,315 reported cases in Canada as of April 11, 2021.

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

Image: Number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by province and territory (April 11, 2021). 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 deaths by province, using progressively darker shades of blue for provinces with higher concentrations of cases. From darkest to lighest:

  • More than 5,000: Ontario; Quebec
  • 1,000 to 4,999: British Columbia; Alberta
  • 500 to 999: Manitoba
  • 100 to 499: Saskatchewan
  • 25 to 99: New Brunswick; Nova Scotia
  • 1-24: The Yukon; Nunavut; Newfoundland/Labrador
  • 0: The Northwest Territories; Prince Edward Island

Precise data is provided in the following table:

Location Number of Deaths
Canada 23,315
British Columbia 1,495
Alberta 2,013
Saskatchewan 454
Manitoba 949
Ontario 7,552
Quebec 10,742
Newfoundland and Labrador 6
New Brunswick 33
Nova Scotia 66
Prince Edward Island 0
Yukon 1
Northwest Territories 0
Nunavut 4

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

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.

Text Description

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 April 14, 2021) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of New Cases" which range from 0 to 4,000. 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 taller than the surrounding bars indicating a peak with 885 cases. From April 2 with 437 cases all the way to September 9 with 59 cases, we can see a general downwards trend with spikes gradually getting shorter and shorter. From September 10 to January 8 with 4,230 cases, we can see that bars are increasing in height again with the exception of December 25 and January 1, where bars are drastically much shorter. From January 9 to February 14 with 568 cases, we can see that bars are decreasing in height. From February 15 to April 14 with 4,743 cases, bars  are increasing in height again, near the end of the graph, to form a steep curve.

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

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.

Text description:

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 April 14, 2021) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of New Cases" which range from 0 to 7,000. 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 2,203 cases, then decreases from May 4 to June 15 with 101 cases. From June 15 to September 2, it stays relatively flat. From September 3 to December 24 with 2,349 cases, the bars increase steeply in height, decreases, and then resumes its upwards trajectory again. From December 25 to January 3 with 7,663 cases, there are a few gaps on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1 and 2 where there are no bars, causing jagged peaks on days with bars. From January 4 to April 14 with 1,559 cases, bars consistently decrease in height and then slightly increases again at the end of the graph.

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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