New maps show Toronto COVID-19 hotspots

Residents of northwest and northeast Toronto are being infected with COVID-19 more than people living in other parts of the city.Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s public health chief, on Wednesday announced the creation of new maps showing concentrations of the homes of people known to have been infected with the potentially deadly virus.The maps created with Toronto Public Health data reveal the heaviest concentrations of infected people living in northwest Etobicoke and northeast Scarborough.De Villa noted that her department had previously said Torontonians living in neighbourhoods with lower incomes and more racial diversity than other parts of the city are suffering disproportionately high COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.Gathering and presenting data is critical for public health to minimize spread. For example, the data shows what areas could use proactive testing, and where to support people and services being hit disproportionately hard.But she noted there is also a risk of stigmatizing certain neighbourhoods.Data revealed Wednesday shows where infected people live, not where they got the disease, de Villa said. People should not be afraid to go into those areas or think that they are safe from the virus going into less affected areas.“Our data confirms COVID-19 is present in every single neighbourhood in Toronto,” de Villa said.“These cases are our friends, they are our colleagues and they are our family members. These numbers represent people, people in our city.”Humber Heights-Westmount in north-central Etobicoke has the highest concentration of known COVID-19 cases in Toronto, with 1,525 people infected for every 100,000 residents.Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jameston, in the city’s northwest pocket, and neighbouring West Humber-Claireville and Beaumond Heights, all have case counts higher than 1,000 infections per 100,000 residents.In the city’s northeast, Milliken in northeast Scarborough has 1,374 people infected for every 100,00 residents. Some neighbouring areas over 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents and Guildwood, in south Scarborough, has 1,301 cases per 100,000 people.Rouge, in the northeast pocket of the city, has more infections than the Toronto average but lower, on a per-capita basis, than some of the areas around it.Mayor John Tory said he supported collection and publication of the data.Torontonians must focus on people struck by “this terrible illness and not shy away from it,” he said, adding he hopes the release of geographic data will encourage people to get tested for the virus if they have any of its symptoms.Detailed information on the spread of COVID-19 is vital “to fight the virus and support people and neighbourhoods affected by COVID-19,” Tory said. “I believe releasing it to the public will do far more help than harm.”Toronto accounts for about two-thirds of known cornonavirus cases in Ontario. The GTA is home to about three-quarters of people known to be actively infected with the virus, according to public health figures.The provincial government refused requests Monday for geographic infection data after Premier Doug Ford said “some areas are lighting up like a Christmas tree,” including parts of Brampton, North Etobicoke, Scarborough and Windsor-Essex.David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering city hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

New maps show Toronto COVID-19 hotspots

Residents of northwest and northeast Toronto are being infected with COVID-19 more than people living in other parts of the city.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s public health chief, on Wednesday announced the creation of new maps showing concentrations of the homes of people known to have been infected with the potentially deadly virus.

The maps created with Toronto Public Health data reveal the heaviest concentrations of infected people living in northwest Etobicoke and northeast Scarborough.

De Villa noted that her department had previously said Torontonians living in neighbourhoods with lower incomes and more racial diversity than other parts of the city are suffering disproportionately high COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Gathering and presenting data is critical for public health to minimize spread. For example, the data shows what areas could use proactive testing, and where to support people and services being hit disproportionately hard.

But she noted there is also a risk of stigmatizing certain neighbourhoods.

Data revealed Wednesday shows where infected people live, not where they got the disease, de Villa said. People should not be afraid to go into those areas or think that they are safe from the virus going into less affected areas.

“Our data confirms COVID-19 is present in every single neighbourhood in Toronto,” de Villa said.

“These cases are our friends, they are our colleagues and they are our family members. These numbers represent people, people in our city.”

Humber Heights-Westmount in north-central Etobicoke has the highest concentration of known COVID-19 cases in Toronto, with 1,525 people infected for every 100,000 residents.

Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jameston, in the city’s northwest pocket, and neighbouring West Humber-Claireville and Beaumond Heights, all have case counts higher than 1,000 infections per 100,000 residents.

In the city’s northeast, Milliken in northeast Scarborough has 1,374 people infected for every 100,00 residents. Some neighbouring areas over 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents and Guildwood, in south Scarborough, has 1,301 cases per 100,000 people.

Rouge, in the northeast pocket of the city, has more infections than the Toronto average but lower, on a per-capita basis, than some of the areas around it.

Mayor John Tory said he supported collection and publication of the data.

Torontonians must focus on people struck by “this terrible illness and not shy away from it,” he said, adding he hopes the release of geographic data will encourage people to get tested for the virus if they have any of its symptoms.

Detailed information on the spread of COVID-19 is vital “to fight the virus and support people and neighbourhoods affected by COVID-19,” Tory said. “I believe releasing it to the public will do far more help than harm.”

Toronto accounts for about two-thirds of known cornonavirus cases in Ontario. The GTA is home to about three-quarters of people known to be actively infected with the virus, according to public health figures.

The provincial government refused requests Monday for geographic infection data after Premier Doug Ford said “some areas are lighting up like a Christmas tree,” including parts of Brampton, North Etobicoke, Scarborough and Windsor-Essex.

David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering city hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

Source : Toronto Star More