BOH March 11 Meeting Summary
Written by Communications, March 17, 2020
Dr. Salvaterra provided the latest update on COVID-19 and noted that today the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Currently, several countries are considered hotspots, including China, Iran and Italy. The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued Level 3 travel advisories for these destinations and advised travellers against going on cruises. The average COVID-19 case tends to infect two to three other people by respiratory droplet—it is not airborne. The elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions, are most at risk.
PPH has put in place extended hours. This will allow our Public Health Nurses to screen local residents with mild respiratory symptoms and a risk of exposure by telephone and email. Initial evidence indicates that 80% of those infected with COVID-19 will experience mild illness. If individuals with mild symptoms contact public health instead of going to Emergency, the hospital will be able to focus on acute care patients. Ontario is working on an online self-assessment tool that will help members of the public determine whether it is safe and appropriate for them to self-care at home. PPH has activated its emergency response plan. Non-essential activities are postponed, or cancelled, to allow for staff reassignment to surge management. PPH’s COVID-19 webpage is updated regularly and is the best source of local information.
On March 15, one case was confirmed in the Peterborough area. Members of the public are advised to stay home if symptomatic, avoid large gatherings, wash their hands frequently, and avoid the sharing of straws, water bottles or utensils. The supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers is becoming a challenge due to disruptions in the global supply chain.
Safe Consumption Site Update
Dr. Salvaterra reported back to the Board of Health that the search is ongoing for a suitable safe consumption site in Peterborough. The ideal site should be close to the downtown core, not too close to commercial areas and large enough to house treatment services as well. She suggested that the next step may be to put out another public call for potential sites.
PPH’s Involvement with the 2-SLGBTQIA Community
Public Health Nurses, Sue Marino and Judy Stanley, shared the work PPH is doing with the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual and Asexual (2-SLGBTQIA) community. Evidence shows that this priority population is at a higher risk of poverty and higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance use and suicide attempts. It also shows that 2-SLGBtQIA youth often experience social isolation, bullying, homelessness, and higher rates of sexual risk-taking and pregnancy. In addition to our Sexual Health Clinic, PPH supports residents through a number of community partnerships including the Rainbow Youth Coalition, LGBTQ Healthcare Coalition, and work with local school boards and post-secondary institutions.
The Board of Health meets next on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 5:30 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.