Pelmo is sick with COVID

The Pelmo Park–Humberlea neighbourhood, part of which is in the area most people would call Weston, has the highest rate of new community-spread COVID cases in the city.

Pelmo Park–Humberlea includes the Pelmo neighbourhood south of the 401, as well as an area to the north of the 401 and  west of the 400.Map of Pelmo Park

Pelmo Park–Humberlea has had 17 new “sporadic” cases in the past 21 days, out of a population of about 10,000. That gives it an infection rate of 159 per 100,000 people, by far the highest in the city—the average rate is 28. (“Sporadic” cases occur outside a healthcare facility).

On the one hand, this may be a statistical blip: 17 cases isn’t a huge number. On the other hand, it is the highest rate in the city in the statistic I think we should care most about: new cases of community spread.

COVID continues to be a problem in the northwest part of the city. In Weston proper, we have had 13 new cases in the past 21 days, and we rank a dismal 9th-worst for new infection rates.

By contrast, more than 10% of the city’s neighbourhoods have had no new cases at all.

Including outbreaks in healthcare facilities makes the picture even darker. Humber Heights (just across the river), Weston, and Mount Dennis have been three of the four worst-hit neighbourhoods in Toronto.

Frances Nunziata says she prompted Joe Cressy, the Chair of Toronto Public Health, to write a letter to the Ontario Minister of Health and the Chief Medical Officer. The letter explains Cressy’s hypotheses around why COVID has been so prevalent here: race, income, reduced access to health services, and household crowding.

He calls on the province to provide:

  • Increased testing, including mobile testing
  • Accommodation for people needing to isolate
  • Increased data collection
  • Improved protections for workers
  • Faster test results

 

 

 

 

Income is related to COVID prevalence

As we’ve discussed, Weston has a large number of COVID cases. It’s not clear why this is the case: it could be density, income, an increased reliance on public transit, or just how diseases work.

I thought that I would try to puzzle out one of these variables. Of course, I’m neither an epidemiologist nor a statistician. But I am pretty handy with a spreadsheet!

And it looks to me like income and COVID prevalence have a loose relationship.

I compared the 2016 neighbourhood median pre-tax income and the COVID rate per 100,000 (to June 4, including public and institutional transmission).

As I suspected, the richest neighbourhoods have very little spread of COVID. This makes sense to me: people there drive, are spread out, and can work from home.

The highest COVID rates are in the poorer neighbourhoods—but not all poorer areas have high rates of transmission.

Income is far from the only explanation. The R² value is .14, suggesing that income explains 14% of the variance in COVID rates. But that’s not nothing, and you read it here first.

Please feel free to check my work.

 

New bike shop in Weston

There’s a new little bike repair shop in Weston: Cheel’s Wheels.

Mark Cheel says “I was recently let go from my project management position due to COVID-19 and I figured, while I was on the job hunt, to get back to my roots and jump back into bicycle repair”, an industry he has more than a decade of experience in.

His prices are very fair: $30 for a tune-up, which includes a lube job, gears and brakes, wheel truing and a safety check. For $15 he’ll pick up or deliver, too.

And, because you can’t be too safe, he wipes down the bike before and after any repairs.

Call or text Mark at (416) 951-8950 if you have any questions.

Comal Y Canela fundraiser

You can help Comal Y Canela, the country’s best Mexican restaurant, raise money for its informal food bank, which hands out groceries no questions asked. If you have any money to spare, I know it will go a long way.

Every week, Yasmen De Leon helps 125 families with bags of dried goods, fruits and vegetables, and eggs, all handed out on a table outside her tiny restaurant.

Charmaine Baan, the organizer, has raised $1471 of $4000 so far.

BlogTO made a video about her food bank, and TVO has a wonderful article about Yasmen De Leon:

De Leon and her family left Mexico when she was five. They lived in the United States for four years before moving to Canada, where they spent six years waiting for refugee status.

“We went to a food bank,” she says. “And they couldn’t help us, because we didn’t have Canadian ID.”

The family went back to Mexico, then headed to Guatemala, where her father was murdered. Her mother packed her five children into the car and drove to Canada.

“My mother was a single mom of five kids,” De Leon says. “Many times, we had to go to the food bank. And, yet, she never denied anyone a plate of food. All my friends ate at our house. I remember, one time, we made peanut butter, pita, and Cheerio sandwiches. Because that’s all we had. If we see our neighbours like our children, then we would be much better as a society and a community.”

Shakespeare for young and not so young.

Click here to find out more.

 

Do you dream of taking the stage?
Have you always wanted to create, perform or design for a theatre play?
Are you over the age of 55?

Now’s your chance!

Shakespeare in Action with the support of the New Horizons For Seniors Program is proud to produce King Lear in Weston, a community-engaged theatre project that is created by and for seniors living in northwest Toronto.

Click here for more details.

SHAKESPEARE FOR KIDS SUMMER CAMP
has a NEW HOME for 2020!Now in conjunction with SHAKESPEARE IN THE SHELL, The Groundlings (ages 7-11) and King’s Company (ages 12 – 15) will design, rehearse, and perform a play on the by the Artscape Weston Common, Shakespeare in Action’s new home!

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

GROUNDLINGS (7 – 11)
KING’S COMPANY (12 – 15)

Discount available until May 3rd!

Spend the summer having fun, making friends, and performing outdoors!