April 13 – Board of Health Summary

Written by Comms Team, April 19, 2022

Opioid Drug Poisoning Harms Update

Our community continues to see a high number of harms related to the opioid drug poisoning crisis. There were 35 calls for paramedic service related to drug poisonings in March 2022, compared to only 19 in March 2021. The PRHC emergency department supported 35 individuals who required urgent care in March 2022, this is also an increase over the same month in 2021. Peterborough Public Health is also providing support to the wider community effort to open the recently-funded Consumption and Treatment Site (CTS). A Community Liaison Advisory Committee is being struck and will start to meet soon. This group will collaboratively and respectfully resolve concerns related to the service as well as facilitate ongoing public education. They will meet quarterly, and will have members from nearby businesses to the site, residents of the neighbourhood, representatives from Community Social Services, service users, PPH, PARN, Fourcast, and Peterborough Police. Jessica Penner, Coordinator of the Peterborough Drug Strategy also provided an overview of the agency’s work and current plans to address the drug poisoning crisis.

COVID-19 Update

Dr. Piggott explained we are in the midst of a sixth wave, and there are some positive developments in terms of anti-virals, booster doses rolling out to high-risk populations. He expects COVID-19 will be with us for years to come, that is why PPH has developed a Community COVID-19 Risk Index to help residents understand local transmission levels and what protective guidance is recommended. Dr. Piggott is concerned as the current transmission level stands at “very high”, and he expects the sixth wave won’t subside until later in May. The current wave is leading to higher rates of absenteeism is several sectors, for example PRHC has 10% of staff unable to work due to COVID-19. Dr. Piggott also noted that despite the current variant not causing severe illness, the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still not clear, but that 15-20% of all cases are expected to have ongoing health concerns. He continues to strongly recommend wearing masks, and avoiding indoor social gatherings to stay safe.

Third dose uptake of COVID-19 vaccines stands at 55.4% in the community. With the recent provincial announcement that anyone over 60 years is eligible for a fourth dose, there is renewed interest among local residents for third doses as well. Pharmacies are also helping out substantially in providing fourth doses to the eligible population. The protein-based vaccine (i.e. non-mRNA vaccine) Novavax is now available for local residents who are 18 years and older.

100-Day Progress Report from Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Piggott shared an update on his progress over the past 100 days since he started on December 1, 2021. Much of his attention has been focused on the COVID-19 response as the Omicron wave surged right at the beginning of his tenure. He has also made substantial progress on PPH’s strategic planning and the drug poisoning crisis, with funding secured for Fourcast’s operation of the 220 Simcoe Street site and operations forthcoming.

Next meeting:

The Board of Health will meet next on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 5:00 p.m. at 185 King Street, Peterborough.