Toronto Public Health has just released a new map indicating which neighbourhoods have the highest and lowest COVID-19 positivity rate.
The map is the latest in a series of city maps the health agency first launched in May, showing how many coronavirus cases are reported across neighbourhoods.
On Monday, Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said that positivity rates should not be looked at in isolation and must be assessed in combination with the number of cases, case rates, and testing rates.
Top three neighbourhoods with the highest positivity rates:
- Weston: 2,651 per 100,000
- Glenfield-Jane Heights: 2,312 per 100,000
- Maple Leaf: 2,285 per 100,000
Top three neighbourhoods with the lowest positivity rate:
- The Beaches: 232 per 100,000
- St. Andrew-Windfields 241 per 100,000
- Lawrence Park North: 253 per 100,000
When asked about Weston being at 14% positivity rate, de Villa said that more testing is needed in that neighbourhood to understand “what’s going on.”
She added that falsely inflated positivity rates can easily occur if there is a low number of tests that are being done.
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“There are a number of different circumstances that need to be looked at,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, the Toronto Board of Health unanimously approved a motion to develop and publish a Toronto COVID-19 Response Equity Action Plan.
“Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on low-income and racialized Torontonians, the Equity Action Plan will help to ensure that all necessary measures are being taken to protect the most vulnerable in our city,” Councillor Joe Cressy, Health Board Chair, said in a statement.
The Board of Health also endorsed recommendations from de Villa to increase access to testing in high-transmission neighbourhoods; make public health information more accessible and available in more languages; increase infection prevention supports for community agencies; support overdose protection and harm reduction approaches; and advocate to the Ontario government for income supports, eviction prevention, and paid sick leave for employees.
“Where race and income data was available, Toronto Public Health found that 82% of people who contracted COVID-19 identify with a racialized group, though only 52% of the city identifies as non-white; and half of all cases live in low-income households, compared to 30% of the general population,” the release adds.
To date, there has been a total of 24,624 cases with 20,803 recovered and 1,337 reported deaths in Toronto.