Toronto's now knows a little more about who COVID-19 is affecting the worst. During the daily press briefing on May 5, the city's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa announced new findings on COVID-19 in Toronto which suggest the virus is hitting lower-income and immigrant residents particularly hard. The city now plans to ask anyone who has tested positive for the virus for more personal information in order to collect important data.
Toronto Public Health started assessing race-based and demographic data related to COVID-19 back in April, reports the Toronto Star.
And studies of that data has found that the virus is affecting certain groups in the city more than others.
"We found that people living in areas that have the highest proportion of low-income earners or areas that have the highest proportion of recent immigrants and high unemployment rates had higher rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations," said Dr. De Villa in the briefing.
"What we know is we have data in respect of certain geographic areas in the city. We know that certain areas of the city, for example, are characterized by populations that are of higher-income status or... higher proportions of recent immigrants, for example," she added.
As a result of these findings, Toronto will now be asking for much more detailed information from patients.
“We will be asking all who test positive about their race, income, household size, Indigenous identity, and First Nation status,” Dr. De Villa said.
“This will begin in the near future after the database changes have been made."
At the time of writing, there is no strong indication of when in the near future this will be, or how long it will take to start amassing results from the new initiative.
This recent update just comes a day after the city announced there has been a noted decrease in the infection rate.
In March, every infected person in the city was passing the virus onto four others. Now, it is being transmitted to just one other person on average.
Although the city hasn't seen a decrease in cases, there is a re-opening plan where Toronto will see the "new normal" through reservations, appointments and pickups for pretty much everything.
Meanwhile, as Ontario Premier Doug Ford suggests we'll be able to head outdoors for Victoria Day weekend, more Torontonians will likely be heading out of the city over the next few weeks.
Toronto and Ontario health staff have repeatedly stressed it is too early to lift social dispatching measures.