Covid-19, Public health, Public safety, Toronto

Covid sources of infections in T.O.

Of the approximately 15,000 Covid-19 cases in Toronto, over 70% can be traced to either “close contact” (e.g. residing in the same household with a confirmed or probable case) or an outbreak. “Community” infections (i.e. not due to travel or close contact or a known location) account for almost 15% as per the chart below.

Covid-all

However, sources of infection vary by age group. First, let’s look at the youngest age group, which is 19 and younger. For this group 77% of cases were due to close contact. While outbreaks account for 10% and community transmission for 7%.

Covid-19

Secondly, let’s look at the oldest age group, which is folks 90 and over. For this age group 93% of the cases were due to outbreaks. This information is consistent with the news of several outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

Covid-90

Thirdly, let’s look at a middle-aged group those between 30 and 39 years of age. For this age group 38% of cases were due to close contact, 24% linked to outbreaks, and 17% caused by community transmission. The fact that community transmission is higher for middle-aged groups (compared to the young and the elderly) is consistent with the fact that middle-aged adults are most likely to buy groceries, run errands, go shopping, work in essential services etc. than youths and the elderly.

Covid-30

From the above we can conclude that youths are more likely to get infected due to close contact, while the elderly are more likely to get Covid-19 because of an outbreak. Furthermore, we can also conclude that community transmission is a risk, since people who get Covid-19 due to community transmission are likely to spread it via close contact to their partners, families, friends, roommates and co-workers. Consequently, we all still need to wear face masks outside of our homes, practice physical distancing and wash our hands frequently. Stay safe and listen to the science.

(Credit: this data comes from Open Data TO)

Covid-19, Public health, Toronto

Covid-19 fatalities/ICU by T.O. postal code (under 70 years of age)

The elderly, especially folks in long-term care have been disproportionately affected by the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent blog post I pointed out the large discrepancy in the number of fatalities by neighbourhood in Toronto.

Some have singled out the concentration of long-term care facilities in certain neighbourhoods as a possible explanation for these discrepancies. Others have argued that some neighbourhoods in Toronto simply have more people.

Let’s explore these arguments by looking at the Covid-19 data for patients under 70 years of age. Since it is unlikely for someone under 70 to be in a long-term care facility.

A look at Covid fatalities for patients under 70 by postal code reveals that certain neighbourhoods have suffered a disproportionately higher number of fatalities:

  • Two neighbourhoods: Weston and Birch Cliff, Cliffside West account for 14% of Covid fatalities in Toronto for those under 70.
  • Two North York neighbourhoods: Downsview and Northwood Park, York University account for 10% of Covid fatalities in Toronto for those under 70.
  • Some neighbourhoods have had only 1 under 70 Covid-19 fatality. While Weston has had 11 under 70 Covid-19 fatalities.
  • Therefore, there is still a large discrepancy in Covid-19 fatalities by neighbourhood that cannot be explained by the concentration of long-term care facilities.

Noting that fatalities are not the only serious outcome from Covid-19, let’s now look at the number of Covid-19 patients under 70 who were hospitalized in an intensive care unit (ICU):

  • The neighbourhood of Weston has both the highest number of Covid-19 patients under 70 who were in ICU, and the highest number of under 70 Covid fatalities.
  • Two North York neighbourhoods: Downsview and Northwood Park, York University had a high number of patients who were in ICU.
  • Some neighbourhoods have had only 1 patient under 70 in ICU because of Covid-19. While Weston has had 12 under 70 patients in ICU because of Covid-19.
  • Weston does not have 10 times more population than these neighbourhoods. In fact, it has a lower population than some of the neighbourhoods with 1 ICU patient under 70. Therefore, population cannot account for these discrepancies.

Both Public Health Ontario and Public Health Toronto need to investigate what exactly is causing these large discrepancies in terms of Covid fatalities and ICU cases by neighbourhood.

Four postal codes in T.O. with the highest Covid fatalities of people under 70 years of age

Postal Code Neighbourhoods Borough Covid fatalities
M9N Weston York 11
M1N Birch Cliff, Cliffside West Scarborough 9
M3N Downsview North York 8
M3J Northwood Park, York University North York 7

 

Four postal codes in T.O. with the highest Covid ICU patients under 70 years of age

Postal Code Neighbourhoods Borough Covid ICU
M9N Weston York 12
M3N Downsview North York 11
M9V South Steeles, Silverstone, Humbergate, Jamestown, Mount Olive, Beaumond Heights, Thistletown, Albion Gardens Etobicoke 10
M3J Northwood Park, York University North York 8
Covid_fatalities_70
Covid-19 fatalities by postal code (under 70 years of age)
Covid-19, Parkdale - High Park, Public health, Toronto, Ward 4

Covid-19 fatalities by T.O. postal codes

You may already know that both North Etobicoke and North Scarborough have experienced the highest number of Covid cases in Toronto. Furthermore, last Friday, July 10th Public Health Toronto released additional information via the City’s Open Data portal.

A look at Covid fatalities by postal code reveals that certain Scarborough neighbourhoods have suffered a higher number of fatalities:

  • As of the date of the Open Data information, there are a total of 1106 Covid fatalities in all of Toronto.
  • The postal code M1E, which includes Guildwood, Morningside, and West Hill, has the highest number of fatalities with 86.
  • Furthermore, four Scarborough postal codes are among the ten highest in terms of Covid fatalities.
  • In fact, these four Scarborough postal codes account for approximately 20% of all of the Covid fatalities in Toronto.

A look at two postal codes in Parkdale-High Park reveals that there can be large discrepancies within one district:

  • The postal code M6K, which includes Brockton, Parkdale Village, and Exhibition Place, has 34 Covid fatalities.
  • Yet, nearby postal code M6P, which includes High Park, and The Junction South, has 8 Covid fatalities.
  • So even between nearby postal codes there can be large discrepancies in terms of Covid fatalities.

The City of Toronto needs to find out what exactly is causing these large discrepancies in terms of Covid fatalities by neighbourhood.

Table: Ten postal codes in T.O. with the highest Covid fatalities.

Postal Code Neighbourhoods Borough Covid fatalities
M1E Guildwood, Morningside, West Hill Scarborough 86
M3J Northwood Park, York University North York 61
M9B West Deane Park, Princess Gardens, Martin Grove, Islington, Cloverdale Etobicoke 55
M1C Rouge Hill, Port Union, Highland Creek Scarborough 55
M6M Del Ray, Mount Dennis, Keelsdale and Silverthorn York 50
M9P Westmount Etobicoke 41
M1N Birch Cliff, Cliffside West Scarborough 41
M4S Davisville Central Toronto 40
M1L Golden Mile, Clairlea, Oakridge Scarborough 36
M6K Brockton, Parkdale Village, Exhibition Place West Toronto 34

 

Covid_fatalities_postalcode
Covid-19 fatalities by T.O. postal codes
Public health, Public safety, Toronto

Help for small businesses during covid-19

Here is some financial help for small businesses during these times:
Stay safe,
Public health, Public safety, Toronto

Let’s honour those who work to keep us safe.

My favourite time of the day is 7:30 pm, when we go to our balcony and make some noise for all those who work to keep us safe, such as nurses, cleaners, grocery clerks, public transit workers, doctors, just to name a few. So go to your balcony, porch or window and make some noise.

For more information on this initiative please visit:

https://rnao.ca/news/media-releases/2020/03/19/rnao-asks-everyone-join-togetherwecandoit-campaign

Healthy Homes, Public health, Public safety, Safe Buildings, Toronto

Remove lead pipes

By now you have likely read the news “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians could be consuming tap water laced with high levels of lead leaching from aging infrastructure and plumbing“.

Removing lead pipes from residential buildings and municipal infrastructure is the only way to eliminate health risks in our communities. While some may point to the cost of lead pipe and lead plumbing removal, no action comes with a higher cost to our lives and health care system. There is also the side benefit that replacing lead lines helps our economy and creates jobs. Take action, sign our petition to remove lead pipes from apartment buildings today.

lead

 

 

Affordable Housing, Healthy Homes, Parkdale - High Park, Public health, Public safety, Safe Buildings, Toronto, Toronto Election, Ward 4

Apartments are Less Safe than Condos

Below, we state the case for raising apartment building standards, i.e. to make apartments as safe as condos.

My wife and I live in a condominium building close to High Park. In the vicinity, there is an apartment building in the Parkdale-High Park neighbourhood where the residents have reported the following: elevators are frequently broken down, its walkways and sidewalks are not cleared from ice promptly, frequently there is an odour in the lobby, the garbage room often is a complete mess, and those are just some of the problems reported. In contrast, our condo has none of these problems. One could argue that our condo is relatively new, but even condos built in the 70’s do not have the issues we have seen in Parkdale-High Park, St. James Town, and in many other parts of Toronto.

So why do apartment buildings in Toronto have these problems and condos do not? The reason is the law. Specifically, the laws governing safety in condominium buildings are much more stringent than the laws governing safety in apartment buildings.

How are these laws different? Our condo board members must take courses as required by the Condominium Act. On the other hand, landlords are not required to take any training in Toronto. Our condo property manager must be licensed also a requirement under the Condo Act. On the other hand, apartment property managers do not need to be licensed in Toronto. Our condo must undergo a Reserve Fund study every three years, which must be completed by qualified professionals as per the Condo Act. Similarly, apartment buildings must have a capital plan under the new Rent Safe program in Toronto. However, there is no explicit requirement the capital plan be completed by qualified professionals.

There is a two-tier system for safety in residential buildings, one for condos which have stringent safety standards requiring training, licensing and professional advice; and another one for apartment buildings with no training and licensing requirements and no qualified professional offering advice. Apartments and condos are our homes. Wherever we live Torontonians have the same right to safe and healthy homes. Consequently, we started the following petition Raise Apartment Building Standards in Toronto, which we hope you will support today.

https://www.change.org/p/john-tory-raise-apartment-building-standards-in-toronto

Apartments

Healthy Homes, Safe Buildings, Toronto

Raise Apartment Building Standards in Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory,

Two years ago, Toronto Council passed a well-intentioned bylaw to protect tenants. While the bylaw was a positive improvement in the legislative framework, the recent fire, flooding and lack of hot water in apartments on Parliament, Pell and Wellesley call into question the efficacy of this bylaw.

This petition calls for improved enforcement of Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings of the Toronto Municipal Code by mandating qualified professional audits and reports which will help make apartment buildings safer for Toronto’s tenants. The purpose of the professional audits and reports is to prevent risks to the public such as fires, flooding, resulting in power outages, and buildings with no hot water or heating, which have left tenants without a home.

The petition also seeks to raise the oversight in apartment buildings by requiring property managers to be licenced similarly to provisions under the Condominium Act.

Yours truly,

José Vera, P. Eng.

Toronto, ON

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Picture by SimonP

Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Affordable Housing, Public health, Smoke-free buildings, Toronto Election

Affordable Housing must be Smoke-Free

Affordable housing was a key issue in the recent 2018 Toronto municipal election. Yet it is important to remember that public health is just as an important issue as affordability, and the science proves that second-hand smoke will travel from one apartment or condo unit to another via cracks, doors, outlets, ventilation, and no existing technology can stop this. In fact, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Position Document on Environmental Tobacco Smoke states the following:

Mixed Occupancy of Smokers and Nonsmokers: If smoking is allowed throughout a space or a collection of spaces served by the same air handler, with no effort to isolate or separate the smokers and nonsmokers, there is no currently available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air cleaning system that can adequately control or significantly reduce the health risks of ETS (environmental tobacco smoke).

The position document concludes, “At present, the only means of eliminating health risks associated with indoor (second-hand smoke) exposure is to ban all smoking activity.” Furthermore, Cannabis is legal in Canada since October 17, 2018 which means that second-hand smoke exposure in residential buildings may become an even more critical issue. Consequently, as Toronto develops affordable housing lets ensure that it is also smoke-free housing.

smoke-free

PS

It is very encouraging to see the following petition Multi-Unit Dwelling Smoking Ban in BC:

https://www.change.org/p/honourable-selina-robinson-multi-dwelling-unit-smoking-ban-in-bc

 

En français

Toronto, my chosen and beloved hometown

I have been perfecting my French as a student at l’Alliance Française de Toronto. Naturally, I am a strong supporter of French language education and French language services.

J’ai suivi des cours de perfectionnement à l’Alliance Française de Toronto. Évidemment, je soutiens les services au public en français et l’enseignement de la langue française dans notre ville.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” — Nelson Mandela

ville