The northeast and northwest corners of Toronto are the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released by the city.
On Wednesday, the city’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said Toronto Public Health has published interactive maps that break down the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the city by neighbourhood.
“Our data confirms that COVID-19 is present in every single neighbourhood in Toronto,” de Villa said. “Based on the last two weeks of activity, our mapping indicates people living in the northwest and northeast parts of the city now have the highest number of positive cases.”
Initially, people in Toronto acquired COVID-19 through travel. Since then, the virus has been transmitted through community spread, she said.
De Villa cautioned the public to consider that where a person lives does not necessarily indicate where they picked up COVID-19. Torontonians are at risk of getting COVID-19 anywhere when they are in close contact of the respiratory droplets of someone with an infection. As such, neighbourhoods with less cases are not inherently safer, she added.
Toronto Public Health
She also said there is no elevated risk of infection by going to certain parts of the city and to think that would contribute to misinformation and unintended stigma on residents of those areas.
“These cases are our friends, they are our colleagues and they are our family members. These numbers represent people, people in our city,” she said.
“These maps are useful for informing our approach, but they must be taken in context,” city councillor and Toronto Board of Health chair Joe Cressy wrote in a tweet. “COVID-19 has shown up in every area and community across our city. No matter where you live or work, the chance of COVID-19 transmission is very real.”
The data will help the city take targeted action to help prevent spread through proactive testing.
De Villa has previously said that TPH analysis based on race-based and socio-economic data suggest that people in areas that have the highest proportion of lower income earners or the highest proportion of recent immigrants and high unemployment rates are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The maps will be updated regularly.
As of May 26, Toronto has 10,525 cases of COVID-19. Of that number, 7,814 cases are now resolved. A total of 780 people have died in the city.
There have been previous efforts to map COVID-19 cases in Toronto. In March, University of Toronto students published an online tool called Flatten.ca that uses crowdsourced information to track spread in the city.