Toronto unveils new dashboard tool to monitor COVID-19 progress amid gradual reopening
The City of Toronto's new COVID-19 dashboard is pictured in this screen grab from June 12, 2020.
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Friday, June 12, 2020 6:36PM EDT
The city’s public health officials have unveiled a new online dashboard for measuring how well Toronto is doing at containing the spread of COVID-19 as pandemic restrictions are eased.
“As we move forward with reopening our city, it is critical that we continue monitoring our progress towards our COVID-19 response objectives,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said at a news conference Friday.
The dashboard is meant to provide a snapshot of how well the city is doing in terms of its three key objectives around the disease: preventing loss of life, preserving the capacity of the health system and minimizing the social, economic and broader health impacts.
The dashboard provides a colour system to indicate how well the city is doing on a number of key indicators, as laid out in the province’s reopening framework.
Those indicators include virus spread and containment, laboratory testing and lab testing trends in Toronto, capacity within the health system, and the capacity of the public health system to follow up on positive COVID-19 cases and their close contacts.
Green indicates that goals are being met, yellow indicates that they still need attention, and red denotes that indicators are consistently trending away from goals.
“At this time what we see is a variation among the indicators with enough positive evidence to support our current approach,” de Villa said.
She said if the dashboard indicates that goals are not being met as the city reopens, then officials may decide to reevaluate the city’s reopening strategies.
Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the city’s board of health also spoke at the news conference and said that the new tool is like a “recovery scorecard” that will help ensure public trust and transparency around how well the city is combating the virus as it begins to reopen.
“For many this virus and the period we’re in has been a very confusing time. There’s a lot of data. There are many experts, there are many levels of government and I can understand that it can be challenging to make sense of it all,” Cressy said. “If we’re being honest with a new virus it’s even challenging at times for the epidemiologists and they’re the experts. But we want you to be informed, we want you to have the same information that we have.
“We’re asking a lot of Torontonians. We’re asking you to keep your distance, to stay home at times, we’re asking you to wear masks on the TTC. At the end of the day we can’t expect you to follow our advice if you don’t trust it.”
As of Friday, Toronto has seen a total of 13,149 COVID-19 cases, including 10,717 recoveries and 973 deaths.
Much of the province moved toward a broader reopening Friday that includes restaurants and hair salons. The GTA is currently excluded from most of the new freedoms as it has seen the highest number of cases. However the city is included in new regulations permitting gatherings of up to 10 people and a rule allowing houses of worship to open at 30 per cent of regular capacity.
The province also announced Friday that it is encouraging households in the province to form social circles of up to 10 people where physical distancing will not be required.