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Workplace COVID-19 outbreaks are not listed in Toronto. Why that could soon change

Toronto’s Board of Health is calling on the city’s top doctor to begin publicly releasing information about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19.

TORONTO —

The motion, which was unanimously passed during a meeting on Monday, asks Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa to “implement a system to publicly share details about workplace outbreaks without compromising individual privacy,” as is already done in the case of outbreaks at shelters, long-term care facilities, schools and childcare centres.

“Complete transparency. If we’re going to beat this pandemic, that’s what we need,” Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy said in a message posted to Twitter following the meeting. “We can’t expect people to adjust their behaviour if they don’t know where transmission’s occurring. And we can’t demand stronger workplace safety without the full picture.”

De Villa has cited workplace outbreaks as one of the contributing factors in the resurgence of COVID-19 infections locally but she has not publicly identified the location of those outbreaks, other than when they occur in establishments that serve the public like bars and restaurants.

During a briefing on Monday afternoon, de Villa said that Toronto Public Health wants “to put information in front of the public so they can help themselves and make good decisions” but she said that staff also seek to balance privacy concerns of those who may test…

Chris Fox

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