TORONTO -- Many neighbourhoods in the city’s northwest continue to see higher levels of COVID-19 transmission with some reporting positivity rates as high as 14 per cent.

Toronto Public Health has released new neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood data, which for the first time includes information on positivity rates and not just overall case counts.

The latest available data for the week beginning Oct. 4 shows that several neighbourhoods in the northwest had positive rates approaching or surpassing 10 per cent, including Black Creek (10.8 per cent), Humbermede (9.6 per cent), Glenfiled-Jane Heights (8.8 per cent) and Brookhaven-Amesbury (12 per cent).

In fact, four of the five neighbourhoods with the highest positive percentage in the city between Oct. 4 and 11 were located in the northwest with the only exception being Scarborough’s Eglinton East (9.7 per cent).

Meanwhile, if you look back to the previous week the northwest Toronto neighbourhood of Rustic - bound by Jane Street, Keele Street, Highway 401 and Lawrence Avenue – recorded a positivity rate of 14.3 per cent.

That neighbourhood, it should be noted, also had among the lowest testing rates in Toronto that week with just 13.7 tests conducted for every 1,000 people.

The testing rate in Rustic dipped to 9.9 tests for every 1,000 people for the week beginning Oct. 4 but information on the positivity rate was withheld because there were five or fewer new cases. Whenever there are five or fewer new cases in a given neighbourhood, Toronto Public Health will withhold the specific data due to privacy concerns.

Speaking with reporters during her regular briefing at Toronto City Hall on Monday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said that the data needs to be “looked at in concert with other information” to provide the necessary context.

For example, she said that the high positivity rate in Rustic might just be a consequence of lower testing volumes.

“What we concluded was that more testing is probably needed in that neighbourhood to fully understand what is happening so you may have a falsely inflated per cent positive rate if in fact a relatively low number of tests that have been done that gave rise to that per cent positivity rate,” she warned. “I would strongly encourage people to look at our data in totality.”

The city-wide positivity rate is 3.1 per cent but the neighbourhood data released on Monday reinforces the fact that where you live has a significant influence on your risk level when it comes to contracting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In affluent areas like the Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills neighbourhood there have only been 31 confirmed cases to date and the per cent positivity rate for the week beginning on Oct. 4 was zero per cent.

Meanwhile, virtually all of the neighbourhoods in northwest Toronto had positivity rates above the citywide average.

“We know that the virus is spreading to different extents in different parts of the city. Where COVID-19 is hitting hardest tailored, targeted action is needed,” de Villa said.

The province has previously said that its “high-alert” threshold for regions is 2.5 per cent. Last week, it moved York Region into a modified Stage 2 after the positivity rate there reached 2.77 per cent.

  • Brookhaven Amesbury – 12 per cent
  • Black Creek – 10.8 per cent
  • Eglinton East – 9.7 per cent
  • Humbermede – 9.6 per cent
  • Elms-Old Rexdale – 8.6 per cent
  • Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown – 7.7 per cent
  • Kingsview Village – The Westway – 7.4 per cent
  • West Humber-Clairville – 7.2 per cent
  • Highland Creek – 7.1 per cent
  • Dorset Park – 6.9 per cent