2,000 COVID-19 cases missing from Toronto's map of hot spots

www.cbc.ca
5 min read
fairly difficult
More than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases are missing from the map the City of Toronto released last week that shows infections by neighbourhood, CBC News has found.
The detailed geographic information about the spread of the novel coronavirus was released last week by Toronto Public Health, marking the first time such data has been made available in Ontario during the pandemic. It shows infections based on where patients live.

But in a review of published data, CBC News found the count on the map comes up short.

On Thursday morning, the map showed 9,623 positive COVID-19 cases distributed over 140 neighbourhoods. That's 2,029 cases short of the official 11,652 total count for that day.

That means roughly one out of every five cases is missing in the city's own geographic analysis. Similar proportions of missing data were found in the map and case counts from previous days.

The data gap was not mentioned in any of the local health authority's statistics or on its webpage until CBC pointed it out.

Muhammad Junayed, right, gets instructions for being tested for COVID-19 from a health-care worker at a pop-up testing centre at the Islamic Institute of Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

An extra row identified as "Missing addresses/postal code," totalling 2,029 cases, has been added to the city's downloadable spreadsheet showing the number of cases assigned to each neighbourhood.

Toronto Public Health blames the missing data on reports sent by testing labs. The public health authority says some forms only have a name and an address, while others don't have a patient's postal code or phone number, leaving health authorities scrambling to fill in gaps.

"Sometimes, they are not putting enough contact details, and in the legislation it doesn't specify that you must include XYZ details of the individual," said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto's associate medical officer of health, referring to the provincial law that requires medical labs to report positive results of certain tests to local health authorities.

"It just requires that it be reported, so that's where some of the missing information and gaps occur."

Delays…
Valérie Ouellet
Read full article