These maps show Toronto’s current COVID-19 hot spots are not where you think they are. The new ones appear to be under or around transit centres, hospitals and schools.
The maps are being produced by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Cities research center and shared with the Star to help cities identify and manage the risks.
Toronto is currently under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of 7,500 people globally.
For the first time, the Star is compiling an interactive map that helps users know when their municipality is in fact facing the highest risk of COVID-19.
The maps reflect the current locations, and the future locations, of hot spots on the city’s four main transportation lines: the GO Transit, the TTC, the Lakeshore East subway line and the Don Valley Parkway railway line.
By comparing where public health and other agencies advise the public to avoid, like hospitals and schools, the Star has found Toronto is in fact experiencing multiple hot spots that could be considered a “critical mass of people” in terms of spreading the disease.
In Toronto, that comes in the form of transit hubs like Kennedy station and Scarborough Town Centre, which are home to millions of people. And while officials are still figuring out how the city should move through this unprecedented health crisis, the city has made the map public in an effort to create better public information about the risks, said Brian Stoner, deputy press secretary for the mayor.
Stoner said the map is meant to be part of a larger collection of public risk information being compiled by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“These maps are meant to be a visual tool to help people better understand how their localities are responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In terms of our response, we encourage all Ontarians to follow the public health and infectious disease advice of their local health unit and hospital,” he said in an email.
The Toronto Public Health unit released its own map last week, which showed that the hot spots were scattered around the four main transit hubs, and were spread out in a “dense cluster” in Scarborough.
By comparison, the city of Toronto’