Board of Health November 12 Meeting Summary
Written by Communications, November 13, 2020
Staff Report: Update on the City of Peterborough By-law to Control the Idling of Vehicles
The Board reviewed a staff report regarding the health effects of idling vehicles and the status of City efforts to curb this source of air pollution. According to Health Canada, a large body of scientific evidence has been accumulating over the last 25 years linking a wide range of significant adverse health effects to exposure to air pollution. These health effects range from respiratory symptoms to development of disease and premature mortality. Children and the elderly are at greater risk of adverse health risks. The City of Peterborough passed an anti-idling by-law that took effect on November 1, 2008 with the intended purpose of promoting the health, safety, and well-being of residents by preventing the unnecessary idling of vehicles in the City. The Board of Health directed Peterborough Public Health (PPH) staff to continue supporting the City of Peterborough with their efforts to reduce transportation related greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the Board of Health directed PPH staff to include idling reduction best practices as a component of the climate change and health vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan for air quality.
Active Transportation Report – 2020 Indicators Report
Deanna Leahy, Health Promoter and Susan Sauvé, Transit Demand Manager for the City of Peterborough provided an overview of the Active Transportation & Health – 2020 Indicators Report. A few highlights include a greater proportion of trips taken on foot or bike in the City (10.2% of total), and that emergency department visits of pedestrians and cyclists are trending downwards. The report notes there is a relationship between income and transportation modes used. At lower incomes, residents are more likely to not own a vehicle and thus be reliant on active modes of transportation (or ride-sharing). As such, transportation system decisions that impact the accessibility, convenience or safety of public transit, cycling, and walking, can have equity impacts on more vulnerable segments of the population in accessing opportunities and services. The report noted a series of recommendations, including directing staff to advocate for a safe systems approach when analyzing the transportation network in the City and County transportation master plan updates. This will expand the focus from level of service to incorporate safety considerations into the modelling of the network into the future. Other recommendations relate to advocating for investments into active transportation, both provincially and locally.
Update on the Consumption and Treatment Service Site
Evan Brockest, Health Promoter gave a presentation on the current status of the Consumption and Treatment Service site (CTS), a key component to address the local drug poisoning crisis caused by contaminated opioids and other substances. Following three years of effort by the Peterborough Drug Strategy partners to find an appropriate site, a location was secured in August 2020 at 220 Simcoe St. in downtown Peterborough. An extensive community engagement process is currently underway. To date the partners have held five consultation sessions for the general public, close neighbours (250m from site), and local businesses and organizations. A final report on the engagement process is anticipated by the end of the month. This round of site-specific consultations complements earlier community consultations conducted in 2019 to gather general feedback on Peterborough developing a CTS. Feedback gathered in 2019 included 1621 responses to an online survey that found 74 percent of respondents supported establishing a CTS in the community. Once the community engagement report is completed, it will be included in the final applications to both the federal and provincial governments that will be submitted in December 2020. When and if approved, renovations will be required to operate the CTS and to ensure compliance with municipal, provincial, and federal requirements.
Local COVID-19 Situation Update
Dr. Salvaterra provided an update of current local COVID-19 data as reported at 5 p.m., Nov. 12 on www.localcovidtracker.ca. The majority of active cases are connected to one outbreak in a local long-term care home.
Overall, the Peterborough area has had very few outbreaks in seniors’ residence and schools compared to other regions. Only 6% of local cases have been hospitalized since the pandemic began, and average of 600-700 people are being tested for COVID-19 each week. The number of close contacts PPH nurses are following continues to be low, which Dr. Salvaterra said reflects local residents’ vigilance to limit their social contacts. She emphasized the importance of physical distancing with anyone not in your household. Despite the low numbers of close contacts, when looking at the sources of exposure, the local rate community spread continues to increase, representing 25% of all cases to date, more than those linked to travel. Over the past four weeks, 12 of the last 33 cases were the result of community transmission. The case incidence rate for last week stands at 8.8 cases per 100,000, which does represent a considerable increase from the week before, when it was 2.7 per 100,000. Dr. Salvaterra noted that when a health unit’s case incidence rate reaches 10 per 100,000, this is one of the indicators considered when moving it into the YELLOW, or PROTECT level of the new provincial COVID-19 framework.
2021 Cost-Shared Budget
The Board of Health approved of the 2021 cost-shared budget for public health programs and services in the amount of $10,496,402, as well as the 2021 Ontario Seniors Dental Program budget in the amount of $700,100. The proposed budget is based on 2021 Budget Planning Assumptions provided by the Ministry of Health staff in August 2020. These include a 0% increase from the Ministry-calculated base from 2018, a 70% provincial and 30% local funding allocation, and a provision of one-time mitigation funding for 2021 to retain a 0% increase for municipal funder contributions.
The Board of Health meets next on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. The location will either be virtual or in the Anstruther Lake, Buckhorn Lake and Chemong Lake Rooms, second floor, Peterborough Public Health, 185 King St., Peterborough, Ontario.
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