September 13 – Board of Health Summary

Written by Comms Team, September 21, 2023

Presentation: 2023-24 Respiratory Season Update 

Gillian Pacey, Infectious Diseases Manager, and Carolyn Pigeau, Epidemiologist, delivered a presentation outlining local data and anticipated trends heading in to the 2023-2024 respiratory virus season. Local data shows that outbreaks of COVID and other respiratory viruses have remained steady over the summer despite typical seasonal declines. Pacey also shared that the number of outbreaks appear to be trending higher in 2023 compared to previous years. As of September 13, PPH is currently responding to 3 active outbreaks in the community.  

Pacey outlined efforts to prepare for the upcoming respiratory virus season. During the summer, PPH and community partners completed outbreak and surge management planning to ensure readiness and a robust response should there be a sudden increase in cases locally. This effort is complemented by an internal respiratory virus surge plan to ensure adequate resources are in place in the event of a sudden increase in outbreaks locally.  

With respect to vaccination, Pacey noted that approximately 78% of residents aged 70 years and older will be eligible for booster doses. As in previous years, eligibility for the new XBB vaccine will follow a phased roll-out, beginning with the highest risk populations in September and October, before opening to the general population in November and December. Once available, residents can access the updated COVID vaccine formulation from 28 local pharmacies, at PPH-led mobile or pop-up clinics, or at the PPH office through our Routine Immunization Clinic. Influenza vaccinations can also be accessed from 43 local pharmacies, at PPH for children under 2 years of age and their families that do not have a health care provider, or through a primary care provider. Residents may continue to visit PPH’s COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Index for weekly updates to risk levels and relevant data based on local data.  

Stewardship Report: 2024 Budget Considerations II 

Mayor Matthew Graham reviewed the proceedings of the Stewardship Committee’s August 31 meeting, where 2024 Budget Planning scenarios were discussed. To guide approval of the final budget at the end of October, the committee directed staff to complete a prioritization exercise focusing on the unfunded areas of the Ontario Public Health Standards where PPH is currently non-compliant due to chronic and outstanding budget limitations.