September 8 Board of Health Meeting Summary

Written by kerri, September 9, 2021

Dr. Salvaterra’s Last Board of Health Meeting

The Board of Health expressed its sincere thanks and gratitude for Dr. Salvaterra’s impressive legacy of public service in the community as Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health. The meeting took place in the newly-expanded L.I.F.E Centre at Hiawatha First Nation. Chief Laurie Carr was on hand to share her appreciation and several generous gifts on behalf of her community. Dr. Salvaterra also spoke about her gratitude for the opportunity to work as an ally with First Nations partners in their efforts to improve public health for the benefit of the community. Her last day at Peterborough Public Health will be September 19 before she moves out west to Edmonton, Alberta. Her plans to retire have been deferred in favour of accepting a new position as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province of Alberta.

COVID-19 Situational Update

Support for COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance

Peterborough is currently experiencing the beginning of the fourth wave, with a large number of high-risk contacts being followed. Locally, almost 80% of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated. Dr. Salvaterra shared the latest modelling data from the Ontario Science Table. It is expected that vaccinated people will not see serious illness, but unvaccinated residents are likely to experience more severe health outcomes that could potentially overwhelm Ontario’s acute care health system, as soon as October. Each case with the Delta variant infects 6-8 people, compared to the original virus that infected 2-3 people. Unvaccinated people have a 6-fold higher risk of symptomatic COVID-19, a 30-fold higher risk of hospitalization, and a 48-fold higher risk of ICU admittance. Modelling data suggests that to blunt the fourth wave, it will require strong vaccination rates (90% of those eligible) combined with public health measures such as masking, physical distancing, decreasing social contacts, etc. Vaccination is not enough on its own. Peterborough Public Health approved its COVID-19 workplace policy requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 for all staff, volunteers and board members.

The Board of Health received a presentation about the current work underway with Trent University conducting wastewater surveillance in Peterborough and Millbrook. The Board passed a motion to advocate for provincial funding to expand surveillance to all municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the Peterborough Public Health jurisdiction, including Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock.

Consumption and Treatment Site Update

Dr. Salvaterra provided an update on Peterborough’s Consumption and Treatment Site (CTS) application. It has received federal approval for exemption to allow drug consumption. The overseeing working group has received a building permit to begin renovating the site. The project is still awaiting word on provincial funding to actually operate the site. A media event is being planned to share the latest renovation plans, which include space for treatment, and to kick-off a local fundraising campaign.

Next Meeting:

The next Board of Health meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Rooms at Peterborough Public Health, located at 185 King St., Peterborough.