Board of Health May 13 Meeting Summary

Written by Communications, May 14, 2020

This meeting was held by teleconference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and provincial emergency order prohibiting gatherings of more than five people.

Board of Health Membership

The Board of Health bid farewell to provincial appointees Catharine Praamsma and Michael Williams as their terms have expired. Board chair Andy Mitchell thanked them both for their past three years of service on the Board and to the community as a whole, and for their leadership. Other provincial appointments are set to expire in 2020 as well. These vacancies remain unfilled as Peterborough Public Health awaits direction from the Ministry of Health on their plans for provincial appointments to boards of health in the context of public health modernization.

COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak – Local Update

Dr. Salvaterra gave a presentation regarding the local COVID-19 situation and PPH’s seven-day a week emergency response to the pandemic. She shared the latest weekly update report and highlighted the testing rate locally is one of the highest in the province. PPH’s rate of positive cases is 49 per 100,000 which is about a third of the rate for the provincial average of 143. She noted there are four factors that need to be considered in making decisions about the timing of relaxing the existing public health measures. These are the state of virus spread and containment, health system capacity to care for cases, public health system capacity for case and contact management, and access to testing. Each have required performance metrics to support decision-making. Dr. Salvaterra indicated that we should be prepared for a future state characterized by either recurring epidemic waves or continuous low-level transmission. Donna Churipuy, Director of Public Health Programs provided details about public health programs and services that are postponed or curtailed due to the pandemic. A plan is being developed to guide the careful resumption of selective public health services depending on how transmission of the virus progresses in the community and in accordance with provincial directives.

Impact of COVID-19 on 2020 Budget

Larry Stinson, Director of Operations, presented a report on the budgetary impact of COVID-19. Expenses for cost-shared programs fell approximately $975,000 below the projected expenses for January – April, 2020. With COVID-19-related costs of $1,019,964, however, it is estimated that as of April 30, 2020 expenditures are $129,382 in excess of revenue for the first one-third of the year. Mr. Stinson noted the emergency response has dramatically changed the scope and nature and overall demand for PPH fiscal and human resources. In recognition of this, correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer of Health dated April 23, 2020 stated, “that boards of health are expected to take all necessary measures to respond to COVID-19 in their catchment area while continuing to maintain critical public health programs and services”; “a process for reimbursement of approved one-time extraordinary costs incurred will be forthcoming”; and “that these costs be those over and above what can be managed from within the budget of the board of health”. Based on these statements there should not be any negative impact on the board’s finances, and more specifically the 2020 budget.

Extension to County of Peterborough Sewage System Agreement

The Board approved the signature of the Services Agreement for the Provision of Inspection Services for Sewage Systems and Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Septic System Maintenance with the County for an additional period of up to six months commencing May 18, 2020 and ending November 18, 2020. This extension is being recommended to provide more time for the working group to complete the review and revisions to this agreement. The COVID-19 outbreak and the provincial state of emergency have impacted the original timelines. The extension will not alter the existing agreement or fee structure.

Next meeting:

The Board of Health meets virtually next on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. in the Dr. J. K. Edwards Board Room, third floor, 185 King St., Peterborough, Ontario.

A list of Board of Health meeting dates and locations can be found here.