Background: We compared the risk of, testing for, and death following COVID-19 infection across three settings (long-term care homes (LTCH), shelters, the rest of the population) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada. Methods: We sourced person-level data from COVID-19 surveillance and reporting systems in Ontario, and examined settings with population-specific denominators (LTCH residents, shelters, and the rest of the population). We calculated cumulatively, the diagnosed cases per capita, proportion tested for COVID-19, daily and cumulative positivity, and case fatality proportion. We estimated the age- and sex-adjusted relative rate ratios for test positivity and case fatality using quasi-Poisson regression. Results: Between 01/23/2020-05/25/2020, we observed a shift in the proportion of cases: from travel-related and into LTCH and shelters. Cumulatively, compared to the rest of the population, the number of diagnosed cases per 100,000 was 59-fold and 18-fold higher among LTCH and shelter residents, respectively. By 05/25/2020, 77.2% of LTCH residents compared to 2.4% of the rest of the population had been tested. After adjusting for age and sex, LTCH residents were 2.5 times (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3-2.8) more likely to test positive. Case fatality was 26.3% (915/3485), 0.7% (3/402), and 3.6% (506/14133) among LTCH residents, shelter population, and others in the GTA, respectively. After adjusting for age and sex, case fatality was 1.4-fold (95%CI: 1.1-1.9) higher among LTCH residents than the rest of the population. Interpretation: Heterogeneity across micro-epidemics among specific populations in specific settings may reflect underlying heterogeneity in transmission risks, necessitating setting-specific COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies.
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