Toronto's coronavirus positivity rate is almost double Ontario's "high alert" range

Oct 22 2020, 6:47 am

Toronto’s COVID-19 positivity rate is nearly double the “high alert” range that is used by the province.

On Wednesday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa explained the percent positivity figure for Toronto – the percentage of positive cases of COVID-19 per 100 individuals tested in a given week – is at 4.4%, for the period from October 11 to October 17.

The week prior, the percent positivity was 3.2% from October 4 to 10, showing a 1.2% increase in a week — the percent positivity data is updated on a weekly basis.

The province has noted that 2.5% is the “high alert” range for jurisdictions and is part of the decision making to put some regions back to a modified Stage 2.

According to de Villa, because the incubation period is 14 days, it can “take around two weeks to observe if new infections are on the decline.”

And it may take time to see if the provincial restrictions are having an effect on the numbers.

Toronto Public Health expects the number to continue to grow, particularly given the experience of case growth in other countries.

The health agency cites the rising numbers in other countries like Ireland, which needed a  six-week lockdown, or Paris, which needed a nighttime curfew.

“As seen in the first wave, there were many small peaks and dips, which can be dependent on factors including who is getting testing, how many people are getting tested, and active outbreaks that are identified,” the city release said.

“Toronto Public Health knows that the public health measures work, as seen when Toronto residents managed to flatten the curve in the first wave. The choices people in Toronto make now will help prevent increasing COVID-19 spread and more restrictive public health measures.”

De Villa also said that the flu vaccine will help with the second wave.

A flu shot is free for anyone six months of age and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario. Flu shots are available through family doctors, at participating pharmacies and at Toronto Public Health clinics.

While the flu vaccine will not protect against coronavirus, it will protect people from the flu or reduce the severity of illness from the flu and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. The city is now taking online appointments to get the flu shot.

On Wednesday, the city reported 346 new cases, making the total 25,278 with 21,256 recovered.