COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Reporting Updates | March 11


9 March 2022

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, including the current situation with the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, how we report on COVID-19 and what data we have available also continues to shift in order to respond to the current environment. Recently, the Ministry of Health updated it’s guidance on laboratory testing and case, contact and outbreak management. This update to the provincial guidance includes preserving testing capacity for those that are the most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 infection. As a result, some of the data that Public Health Ontario (PHO) was able to include in our surveillance reports are no longer available or can no longer be used as they do not provide an accurate summary of population-level COVID-19 transmission in Ontario.

What’s changing?

We are shifting our reporting to include data that we can accurately assess, analyze and report on. Starting on March 11, the following updates will be made to our daily and weekly epidemiologic summaries as well as the COVID-19 data tool:

  1.  We will remove figures and tables that report on:
    • the likely source of infection (acquisition)
    • analyses that use confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the denominator (e.g., hospitalizations and deaths as a % of total cases)
    • outbreaks in settings outside of those listed as “highest risk” (i.e., education and childcare, workplace, other settings)
    • reproduction number/doubling time: the estimated number of days it will take for the number of daily COVID-19 cases to double

  2. To protect against sharing potentially identifiable information, data about deaths in PHO’s COVID-19 Data Tool, for children in age groups 0-4, 5-11, and 12-19 are aggregated to 0-19 years of age at the provincial level and are no longer broken down by public health unit.

  3. Also starting March 1, the Ministry of Health will update its COVID-19 death reporting and PHO will align our data reports to this update. Reported data on COVID-19 deaths will no longer include deaths that are unrelated to COVID-19 as the cause of death. Reporting will continue to include deaths for which COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death, COVID-19 contributed to but was not the underlying cause of death, and those with type of death unknown or missing. Visit the Ministry of Health’s website for more information about these updates.

Previous versions of the daily and weekly reports will continue to be available on the COVID-19: Epidemiologic summaries from Public Health Ontario webpage.

PHO is committed to providing the best available data and information and will continue to a work with our provincial partners to report on up-to-date COVID-19 data to support the pandemic response.

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Updated 9 March 2022