Thorncliffe Park, one of Toronto’s worst-hit areas with COVID-19, has not reported a single case in the past three weeks.
Ahmed Hussain, CEO of The Neighborhood Organization in Thorncliffe, said it’s an exciting sign that a year and a half of community outreach to encourage residents to follow public health measures and get vaccinated is paying off.
“We are very, very, very excited that we are moving in that direction,” he said. “But we have to keep going until we reach our goal, which is getting everyone vaccinated who is eligible.”
Thorncliffe Park, located in Middle East Toronto, is among 31 communities reporting zero COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, according to city data covering nearly 140 neighborhoods.
“It’s very surprising to see cases drop to zero in some neighborhoods, where it was challenging for so long,” said Dr. Andrew Boozery, executive director of social medicine at the University Health Network.
“I hope we can build on these lessons learned, which is unlike some of the premature wins we’ve seen in other jurisdictions that come with a real cost.”
Buzzari said these pockets of success are linked to vaccination rates, if people can work from home, if their workplaces are safe, if they can easily access vaccine clinics, as well as their housing status and income. level as well.
During the pandemic, Thorncliffe Park recorded 9,617 cases per 100,000 people. Experts say it was hit hard because 45 percent of its residents are considered low-income, and many have essential workers who live in rental apartment buildings. In comparison, the affluent Leeside neighborhood, which borders Thorncliffe Park, had an overall rate of 2,537 cases per 100,000 people.
Hussain said the Thorncliffe Park community group sent ambassadors to more than 60 apartment buildings, zeroing in on essential workers to their workplaces and vaccinating family members to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Were.
He said it is a breakthrough in helping to bridge the vaccination gap.
“The vaccine uptake for that group is significantly higher, than for any other group,” he said.
Now, 54 percent of adults in Thorncliff are fully vaccinated, but that still lags behind the entire city of 65.6 percent. Vaccination efforts are ongoing, Hussain said, as are initiatives to ensure people are exposed to the newer, more infectious forms.
Nearby Neighborhood Reporting Cases
East of Thorncliffe is Flemingdon Park, which has similar demographics and vaccination rates, but has recorded 41 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the past three weeks. This is a pattern across the city – some neighborhoods are reporting zero cases, others are experiencing small outbreaks nearby.
For example, Etobicoke’s Stonegate-Queensway stands at zero, while surrounding areas, including Alderwood, report some of the highest case rates in the city, which saw 50 cases per 100,000 people over the past three weeks.
“I think there may be an element of randomness in this,” said Dr. Jeff Kwang, a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences (ICES).
“Sometimes, you get one or two cases and those people infect your house and suddenly it’s like you have multiple cases.”
But the highly contagious Delta version is also in trend, he said.
“And so it only takes one person to infect a group of people if they are not vaccinated,” Kwang said. “That’s why it’s really important that as many people as possible get vaccinated – so that we can reduce the chance of unvaccinated people getting these pockets of infection.”
Mass vaccination clinic planned for North York
Some neighborhoods in North York are also experiencing fewer vaccinations than the rest of Toronto. That’s why North York General Hospital and the city are planning a massive “#VaxTheNorth” pop-up clinic in Mel Lastman Square this weekend.
In the five postal codes provided by the hospital around Yonge Street, north of Highway 401, there are thousands of people who are still not fully vaccinated, said Sean Malloy, the hospital’s vaccine operations lead.
“To put a dent in them [neighbourhoods]“We need to think big and think of a clinic that can connect so many communities together,” Malloy said.
“And while we’re at it, have some fun, bring the community together, and really try and address groups that are slow or may be hesitant to get a vaccine.”