September 9 Board of Health Meeting Summary

Written by Communications, September 11, 2020

Introductions and In Memoriam

Chair, Mayor Andy Mitchell welcomed the Board’s newest Provincial Appointee, Dr. Hans Stelzer, a local respirologist, who will join the Board of Health (BOH) for a one-year term.

Mayor Mitchell also expressed condolences on behalf of the Board and shared personal reflections of former Reeve Dave Nelson from the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan. Reeve Nelson was a former BOH member (1998 – 2002), and served as Chair in 2001.  He passed away on August 30, 2020.

Public Health’s 130th Anniversary                               

Professor Dale Standen of the Peterborough Historical Society (PHS) provided a closing reflection on 130 years of public health in Peterborough. Dr. Standen highlighted the great strides public health has taken in a relatively short period of time. He noted that the consideration of public health has shaped all aspects of present life including transportation, food, and water supply. Dr. Standen commented that the world is going through the largest public health response to date. To ensure public health stays a priority, we must continue efforts to educate the public and reflect on past successes. The PHS has produced a book of proceedings from the public health conference event held on February 9, 2019 entitled “Back to the Future: 130 Years of Public Health in the Kawarthas”.  The book can be purchased from the PHS directly, requests can be sent to info@peterboroughhistoricalsociety.ca.

Anti-racism and Public Health

The BOH approved a staff report that outlined some next steps on how to address racism in the community. Racial oppression is deeply rooted in the history of our country. As such, the very systems built to help individuals have become oppressive to Indigenous, Black, and racialized peoples. Dr. Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, shared the importance of being leaders in the fight against racial oppression. Recommendations included building board and staff capacity with anti-racism training. A progress update will be provided to the BOH at year end.

Sewage Safe Disposal Program Update

The Board approved the Safe Sewage Disposal Program – Services Agreement for the Provision of Inspection Services Relating to Sewage Systems and Mandatory and Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Inspections. This included an amendment to BOH By-Law Number 8, Building Code Act – Sewage Systems. The agreement includes new approaches to discretionary maintenance inspection programs as well as an amended fee schedule and fee review process. This agreement will allow Peterborough Public Health to continue to support Township Councils to deliver services related to onsite sewage systems and ensure the continued protection of environmental and public health. The proposed agreement will now move on to County and Township Councils for final approvals.

Opioids Update

Dr. Salvaterra provided an update on Peterborough Public Health’s opioid program. Peterborough consistently experiences a higher than provincial average rate of opioid related deaths. As of September 2020, the amount of unconfirmed opioid related deaths has surpassed the total for 2019. In an effort to combat this issue, new federal funding has been secured to pilot a new community program for those that use substances. The money is going to fund the Multi-Sector Outreach and Response Team (MSORT). The team will include community organizations and services already working with people who use substances. Dr. Salvaterra explained that the team will work as a system navigator for those that are at risk or have already experienced an opioid related overdose. The hope is to quickly identify those that are at risk and connect them with the resources they need. Earlier this year, the Elizabeth Fry Society was also able to secure federal funding for peer support and will be working closely with MSORT on this pilot.

COVID-19 Update

Dr. Salvaterra shared the current provincial and local COVID-19 statistics. While the province is slowly seeing an increase in numbers, Peterborough remains stable. Peterborough saw relatively few cases since the province began to reopen. This is reflected in its current weekly case rate of 1.4 per 100,000 compared to Ontario’s rate of 7.5 per 100,000. Dr. Salvaterra shared updates on the work being done with local school boards in anticipation of back-to-school. This work is being led by a new School Health team that includes 6 new Public Health Nurses assigned schools to assist with case and contact management in addition to health promoters and public health dietitians. Dr. Salvaterra also shared the news of the successful transition of the COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing Clinic to its new location at the Northcrest Arena in the city. Donna Churipuy, Director of Public Health Programs provided an update about public health programs that have re-started.

Revised 2020 Budget Approval

PPH received details about the 2020 cost-shared budget and additional one-time funding requests from the Ministry of Health on August 21, 2020.  The BOH approved a revised budget based on these on funding approvals.

Next meeting:

A special closed session has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.  The next regular meeting of the BOH is on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. at Peterborough Public Health (venue subject to change based on provincial public gathering orders). Please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca for updates.