SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada, January 2020-January 2022

Emerg Infect Dis. 2024 May;30(5):956-967. doi: 10.3201/eid3005.230482.


We estimated COVID-19 transmission potential and case burden by variant type in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada, during January 23, 2020-January 27, 2022; we also estimated the effectiveness of public health interventions to reduce transmission. We estimated time-varying reproduction number (Rt) over 7-day sliding windows and nonoverlapping time-windows determined by timing of policy changes. We calculated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for each variant and compared rates to determine differences in burden among provinces. Rt corresponding with emergence of the Delta variant increased in all 3 provinces; British Columbia had the largest increase, 43.85% (95% credible interval [CrI] 40.71%-46.84%). Across the study period, IRR was highest for Omicron (8.74 [95% CrI 8.71-8.77]) and burden highest in Alberta (IRR 1.80 [95% CrI 1.79-1.81]). Initiating public health interventions was associated with lower Rt and relaxing restrictions and emergence of new variants associated with increases in Rt.

Keywords: COVID-19; Canada; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease; epidemiology; infectious diseases; reproduction number; respiratory infections; transmission; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / transmission
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • SARS-CoV-2*

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants