Interactive map shows neighbourhoods with higher and lower rates of COVID-19

An interactive map created through a partnership between Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study shows neighbourhoods with lower and higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

The map has been shared “in the interest of transparency,” said the partners

“COVID-19 is present in every single community within Ottawa. Areas with lower or higher rates are not more or less ‘safe’ from COVID-19 transmission.”

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study provides data on the strengths and challenges for every neighborhood in the city. Laboratory-confirmed cases between March and Aug. 21 were assigned to a neighbourhood based on the individual’s residential postal code and the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study’s postal code conversion file.

Because the area served by a postal code may cross multiple neighbourhoods, the postal code conversion file identifies the proportion of each postal code that falls within a neighbourhood. For cases with postal codes falling within multiple neighbourhoods, a fraction of those cases will be assigned to each neighbourhood.

The map provides numbers as well as rates per 100,000 people, and also shows significant outbreaks at long-term care homes and retirement homes.

Among the neighbourhoods with the highest cumulative number of cases: Ledbury-Herongate-Ridgemont (123 cases); Overbrook-McArthur (73 cases); Old Barrhaven East (54 cases); Bayshore-Belltown (48 cases); Portobello South (42 cases) and Centretown (40 cases).

The map shows the neighbourhoods where people with confirmed COVID-19 live, and does not necessarily reflect when they were infected. Exposure to COVID-19 can occur anywhere people congregate, such as workplaces or services open to the public.

There are several factors that may be driving the observed rates of COVID-19 in Ottawa neighbourhoods. For instance, the population differences between urban and rural neighbourhoods affects the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people because rural neighbourhoods have smaller populations making rates more sensitive to changes. The Marlborough neighbourhood in the rural south of the city, for example, had seven confirmed cases — but this translates to 363.98 per 100,000 people.

Testing rates have also not been uniform across the city and in some cases certain groups have been prioritized.

Meanwhile, factors such as income can have an effect on disease prevalence. A study released in May by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) found that those tested, and those confirmed positive, were more likely to live in marginalized neighbourhoods.

The ICES researchers found that those confirmed positive for COVID-19 were also more likely to live in neighbourhoods with a relatively greater concentration of immigrants and visible minorities.

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study’s interactive map is updated monthly and reflects the number and rate of Ottawa residents with confirmed COVID-19. Currently illustrating cases up to Aug 31, 2020.

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