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‘A very dire situation.’ Brampton’s northeast corner tops list of 30 GTA neighbourhoods with alarming rates of COVID-19 infections

An area in the northeast corner of Brampton has a “shocking” 19 per cent COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rate double that of the U.S. — and is leading a list of 30 Greater Toronto neighbourhoods that are seeing alarming numbers of people testing positive for the virus, new data shows.

Peel as a whole is recording a per cent positivity of 9.8 per cent — the highest in the GTA — while neighbourhoods in northwestern Toronto, Scarborough, and southern York Region are also reporting sky-high rates, according to a first-time look at an analysis conducted by the Toronto-based non-profit ICES (formerly the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences). The data covers the first week of November, the most recent time period of which per cent positivity rates are available, and is broken down by postal code to provide a detailed picture of the local severity of the pandemic.

…Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Mawani, of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at Unity Health Toronto, said the ICES data highlights how the current pandemic response is failing.

In early October, COVID-19 testing was limited just as cases were rising and in Toronto, public health dropped all contact tracing except for high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals and long-term-care homes.

“That combination, while cases were rising, is a recipe for disaster,” Mawani said. “We are now seeing that disaster unfolding. Those are two key tools to stopping the spread.”

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