Toronto Public Health to release data on COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces

Jan 4 2021, 12:18 pm

Toronto Public Health will now have data updated weekly on COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces publicly available on their website.

On Monday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said that Toronto Public Health’s website will now include weekly updates every Thursday on data of outbreaks in workplace settings without compromising personal privacy.

The workplace settings will be categorized into grocery stores, pharmacies, offices, food processing sites, shipping and distribution, and construction.

The city’s top doctor also offered guidelines for employers and businesses on additional measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Some of these requirements include that businesses “immediately notify” public health if two or more employees have COVID-19 and designate a contact person with Toronto Public Health. And to minimize instances where no more than one person can be in a vehicle associated with that business.

They must also ensure “that accurate and updated contact information for all workers is available to be produced to Toronto Public Health within 24 hours of request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements for COVID-19.”

In addition businesses must notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development or other relevant government authorities.

And, cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from Toronto Public Health including allowing entry into the workplace premise for inspection and to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures and recommendations.

De Villa added there must be enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas, physical distancing, and regular checks of ventilation systems.

When asked why Toronto Public Health is only including this information now, de Villa said, “we have always adopted new actions including data reporting, to better inform our response and the residents of Toronto.”

She noted that some areas and workplaces have had “more challenging outbreaks,” and some have been “unscathed.”

The information on the website will include cumulative and active outbreaks for each workplace setting, as well as mentioning specific workplaces that have sustained transmission of the virus and are large enough that private personal data cannot be compromised.

Toronto has been on lockdown since November 23. Currently, all non-essential businesses are closed, offering curbside pickup or delivery. As well as restaurants, bars, theatres, and event spaces.

On Monday, 974 more COVID-19 cases were reported in Toronto, with 366 in hospital and 98 in ICU, as well as 38 more deaths.