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Meeting Document Type: 
Minutes

This meeting was held via Teleconference.

Board Members Present:

Gary McNamara, Joe Bachetti, Tracey Bailey, Fabio Costante, Dr. Debbie Kane, Judy Lund, John Scott, Ed Sleiman, Larry Snively, Gary Kaschak, Rino Bortolin

Administration Present:

Theresa Marentette, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Lorie Gregg, Nicole Dupuis, Kristy McBeth, Dan Sibley, Lee Anne Damphouse 


QUORUM:  Confirmed

  1. Call to Order
    Board Chair, Gary McNamara, called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. G. McNamara will relinquish the chair to Vice-Chair, John Scott, approximately 15 minutes into the meeting, due to another commitment.
  2. Agenda Approval
    Moved by: Larry Snively
    Seconded by: Tracey Bailey
    That the agenda be approved.
    CARRIED
  3. Announcement of Conflicts of Interest – None
  4. Approval of Minutes
    1. Regular Board Meeting: February 20, 2020
      Moved by: Judy Lund
      Seconded by: Ed Sleiman
      That the minutes be approved.
      CARRIED
  5. Business Arising
    1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Overview
      1. Incident Management Report (Dr. W. Ahmed)
        Dr. W. Ahmed reported on the status of positive COVID-19 cases in the Windsor-Essex region noting that there are over 400 positive cases and 18 deaths to date. Testing is actively occurring at high risk Long-Term Care Homes to identify cases early. The case-doubling rate is slightly improving, but since we still have cases, we all need to continue to reinforce the messaging on physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick. We are participating on a number of tables at both the regional and provincial levels and are working with various partners in our community. From an Incident Management System perspective, our processes are working well and new documents continue to be released from the Ministry. As things progress we will continue to update the Board and the community.
        R. Bortolin asked if there was a sufficient amount of testing supplies available for the general public as well as front line workers. W. Ahmed advised that there are now two local Assessment Centres (Windsor and Leamington). Although there are enough tests, only those that are presenting with symptoms, or are suspect for COVID-19, will be tested. False positives and false negatives can result if the timing is not right for swabbing.
        F. Constante noted that Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, said that non-medical masks might slow down the spread of COVID-19. He asked where the health unit stood on this.
        Dr. W. Ahmed said that Dr. Tam’s and the WECHU’s messages on the use of non-medical masks align, but there are some risks, as well as some benefits, to wearing them. His concern is it may provide a false sense of security. There is the risk of touching the mask and contaminating it. He is not recommending that everyone wear them, but if anyone chooses to there is a proper way of donning and doffing them. 4:14 pm - Chair G. McNamara relinquished the chair to Vice Chair, J. Scott
        E. Sleiman asked if there are advantages of one mask over the other, i.e. n95, Surgical or homemade masks.
        Dr. W. Ahmed advised that there are different purposes for different masks.

        Surgical Mask
        If worn properly, a surgical mask is meant to help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain germs (viruses and bacteria), keeping it from reaching your mouth and nose. Surgical masks may also help reduce exposure of your saliva and respiratory secretions to others but does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures.

        N95 Respirators
        N95 respirators achieve a minimum filtration efficiency of 95% when worn properly. The edges of the mask form a seal around the nose and mouth. N95 respirators (not medical masks) are designed to reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles and aerosols.

        Homemade Masks
        Homemade masks have some level of permeability and some viruses may not be filtered. The effectiveness depends on the type of material and the concern is the risk that people are not wearing them properly and touching their face, creating a false sense of security.

        J. Lund inquired about the supply of PPE for health care workers.
        Dr. W. Ahmed advised that we do not have the answers for all of the facilities, but we are providing masks, gloves and gowns wherever we can. The shortage of supply is everywhere. Supplies are coming in at a reduced rate, quantity and frequency, and we are advising the health care facilities to continue to order supplies through their regular supplies. Any healthcare workers who have concerns about PPE should discuss this with their employer. If they continue to have concerns, they can contact the Ministry of Labour who will look at the risk level and conduct an assessment.

        Dr. W. Ahmed said that there is the risk of another spike in cases, and we need to look at how the virus is spreading in the community.
        Moved by: Ed Sleiman
        Seconded by: Judy Lund
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED

      2. Communications (N. Dupuis)
        N. Dupuis noted that WECHU has a good relationship with the media and there is a considerable amount of communication in respect to COVID-19. The WECHU conducts its media conference every weekday morning (9:00 am) on Facebook Live. Dr. W. Ahmed and Theresa Marentette provide information and presentations in respect to the virus both globally and in our own region. We have received good feedback from the public watching live each day.

         

        The WECHU Homepage has been revamped and any information related to COVID-19 has been set up for easy navigation and is translated into various languages. We will be adding more resources and links to what is available in the community and there have been mail-outs, posters in grocery stores, and ads on the radio and in Saturday’s Windsor Star targeting seniors. Our HPS’s have been redeployed and are reaching out to our community partners to see if they need support.
        Moved by: Ed Sleiman
        Seconded by: Judy Lund
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED

      3. Safety (T. Marentette on behalf of D. Sibley)
        T. Marentette noted that there has been a lot of background work being done in regard to OH&S and HR issues, return to work, giving guidance and deploying staff as needed in relation to COVID-19. There has been no issues in work refusal and/or issues concerning safety in the workplace or staff noting concern about their safety.

        There are still a lot of staff working in the office, and 73 are working from home, i.e. health inspectors, finance and IT staff. We have offered masks for staff who cannot distance or have concerns, and are asking those who are sick to stay home.
        F. Costante thanked everyone at the health unit for the good leadership and clear and concise communication. If there was ever a time to recognize and realize how important public health is this is the time. Dr. W. Ahmed thanked the Board on behalf of the WECHU team.
        Moved by: Judy Lund
        Seconded by: Ed Sleiman
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED

      4. Liaison (T. Marentette)
        WECHU continues to have its weekly meeting with the City and County Chief Administrative Officers to discuss local concerns across all municipalities. We are working on a Homeless Shelter Plan, i.e. shelters, missions, group homes, residential homes, hospice, and are working with the local hospitals to provide guidance as needed. We are also working closely with Windsor Police, LaSalle Police, Regional OPP, Windsor Fire and Rescue and EMS. We are testing in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes due to current COVID-19 outbreaks and the health unit is providing consistent messaging daily to support our community at this time.
        Moved by: Ed Sleiman
        Seconded by: Fabio Costante
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED
      5. Operations (K. McBeth)
        Our Infectious and Prevention Department (IDP) normally has a compliment of 15 staff. With COVID-19, we now have 8 WECHU Managers and roughly between 75-100 people, working 7 days a week in IDP. Our Dental team is supporting the call center, the bulk of the work being in case and contact management.

        We are receiving a high volume of calls daily, and most are returned in 24 hours. We follow up on every lab result we receive, whether positive or negative, with a phone call to the individual. Positive cases receive case management with a daily follow up.

        Long Term Care and Retirement Homes is a significant focus, involving nurses and public health inspectors for infection prevention and control. Our TEO’s are working on a COVID response around provincial orders for complaints around non-compliance. Our entire WECHU staff is, in some way, working on the pandemic.
        Moved by: Judy Lund
        Seconded by: Tracey Bailey
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED

      6. Finance and IT (L. Gregg)
        We continue to monitor our cash flow and the status of our bank accounts, and our cash flow is currently at $4.3M. At March 31, we had $89,000 of COVID related expenses, i.e. supplies, communication, computer hardware (working from home) and various PPE.
        Our payroll notes that we have 90 employees designated to supporting COVID, but the actual number of employees working on the pandemic is higher. From the last payroll in March, we have $390k in payroll focusing on the core team only, i.e. this does not include senior management or the public health inspection support for the outbreak piece. As we track all expenses we await direction from the Ministry on what reporting will look like in 2020, as it is not business as usual. The Annual Service Plan will differ from what we have previously submitted.
        Moved by: Ed Sleiman
        Seconded by: Debbie Kane
        That the information be received.
        CARRIED

      D. Kane said that the messaging from the health unit continues to be driven by science and has been extremely consistent. The health unit has done a great job staying calm and reassuring the public, and we will all get through this as a community.

  6. Committee of the Whole (CLOSED SESSION, in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act)
    1. The Board did not move into Committee of the Whole.
  7. Next Meeting: At the Call of the Chair, or May 21, 2020 in Windsor, Ontario
  8. Adjournment
    Moved by: Debbie Kane
    Seconded by: Tracey Bailey
    That the meeting be adjourned.
    CARRIED
    The meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm.

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