December 8 – Board of Health Summary

Written by Comms Team, December 10, 2021

Board of Health Welcomes New Medical Officer of Health

Mayor Andy Mitchell, Board of Health Chair, noted this historic occasion in welcoming Dr. Thomas Piggott, Peterborough Public Health’s new Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Piggott started on December 1 and has hit the ground running. In his introductory remarks, he noted his strong commitment to the mandate provided by the Board of Health that focuses on continue leading the local COVID-19 response, addressing the opioid crisis, and ensuring equity and fairness drive public health work, especially around the social determinants of health.

Farewell to Dr. Ian Gemmill, Acting Medical Officer of Health

Mayor Mitchell, Board of Health Chair shared his sincere thanks on behalf of the entire board to Dr. Gemmill for his role as Acting Medical Officer of Health for several weeks during the interim period between departing Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Piggott.

Recognition of Long-Standing Staff at Peterborough Public Health

The Board honoured three Peterborough Public Health (PPH) staff for their impressive years of service and dedication to improving the public health of the community. This included Health Promoter Christine Post (25 years), Communications Assistant Jane Naylor (30 years), and Director of Operations Larry Stinson (30 years).

COVID-19 Update

Dr. Piggott noted that according to the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table’s latest modelling data, case counts are expected to rise dramatically, even without the Omicron circulating. Dr. Piggott noted it currently takes over one week to complete genomic sequencing to confirm if an Ontario case is the Omicron variant. Several public health units across the province have declared Omicron outbreaks. Vaccine effectiveness in Ontario remains very high but experience in other countries suggests we will need to boost immunity with third doses. To control cases and the impact on our health system, we need to increase vaccination (particularly 5-11 year-olds) and continue to use public health measures to reduce transmission now. As of today, 19.5% of local children aged 5-11 have received their first dose. Dr. Piggott strongly recommended families get their children vaccinated as quickly as possible, and that residents who are 50+ book their booster dose as soon as they can when they become eligible on December 13. He also advised people plan a more prudent approach to holidays with smaller gatherings (preferably outdoors), opening windows each hour to improve ventilation, wearing tight-fitting masks and physical distancing in public.

Q3 2021 Financial Report

The Board received the Q3 2021 report highlighting the status of expenditures for each budgeted program as of September 30, 2021. As this is not a typical year there are some variances from the expected 75% of expenses realized by this date. Because it is expected that COVID expenses are to be covered through base cost-shared funds until depleted and expenses in excess will be covered by one-time funding, a disproportionate amount of COVID expenses show up in the first three quarters. In November, the province approved amended COVID-19 one-time funding in the amount of $3,650,700 based on the second quarter submission. As PPH moves to Q4 we will see increased amounts, above initially projected costs, reflected in COVID one-time allocations. Overall COVID expenses are anticipated to be approximately $434,091 above the projection from June 2021 as projected spending in COVID response and vaccination will be higher due to continued demand. Expected cost-shared expenses are less than what would be anticipated for the end of Q3 because of redeployment and reduced service levels.

Next meeting:

The Board of Health will gather again in accordance to current public health guidelines on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. in Jackson Square, located at 159 King St., Peterborough.

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