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Meeting Document Type: 

Board Members Present:

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

Board Member Regrets:

Administration Present:

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

QUORUM:  Confirmed

  1. Call to Order
    Board Chair, Gary McNamara, called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.

    Nominations for Chair

    G. McNamara relinquished the Chair to T. Marentette, Board Secretary, to begin the election process. T. Marentette opened the floor for nominations for the position of Chair noting that Administration had received four (4) written nominations for Gary McNamara.  T. Marentette asked for further nominations from the floor (three times). Given that there were no further nominations, nominations for the position of Chair were closed. G. McNamara, having accepted the nomination, was appointed Chair by acclamation.

    Nominations for Vice-Chair

    The Chair opened the floor for nominations for the position of Vice-Chair noting that Administration had received four (4) written nominations for John Scott.  The Chair asked for further nominations from the floor (three times). Given that there were no further nominations, nominations for the position of Vice-Chair were closed. John Scott, having accepted the nomination, was elected Vice-Chair by acclamation. 

    Nominations for Treasurer

    The Chair opened the floor for nominations for the position of Treasurer noting that Administration had received four (4) written nominations for Tracey Bailey.  The Chair asked for nominations from the floor (three times). Given that there were no further nominations, nominations for the position of Treasurer were closed. Tracey Bailey, having accepted the nomination, was appointed Treasurer by acclamation.

  3. Agenda Approval

    Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
    Seconded by: Ed Sleiman
    That the agenda be approved.

  4. Announcement of Conflicts of Interest – None
  5. Update (Dr. W. Ahmed)
    1. COVID-19 Update

      Dr. Ahmed provided a presentation, and an update of positive COVID-19 cases in our community.  Dr. Ahmed noted that the WECHU has established a Vaccine Task Force to oversee parts of the rollout strategy and a Prioritization Committee for our community plan.

      With the current restrictions, lockdowns and the Stay at Home Order, we are seeing a slight downward trend resulting from these measures, and hope that people will take this as a sign to continue to follow public health measures. Our Percent Positivity Rate (PPR) was the highest in the province with a slight decline at 8.4% for our region.  We are still averaging about 10,000 tests per week in our community.  Cases broken down by municipality show the highest number of cases reported in Windsor, followed by Leamington, between the ages of 20 years to 60 years.  Case rates in the 0-19 ages range have decreased, due to school closures.

      The majority of residents in Long term Care Homes have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine and we are hoping to start first rounds of the vaccine in Retirement Homes today. These settings have experienced the highest burden of outbreaks, and there are currently 19 homes in outbreak.

      We are expecting to receive another shipment of the Moderna vaccine on February 1, 2021. Without this shipment, we would not have a sufficient amount to administer all of the required second doses.  We have withheld some vials to ensure we can provide some of the second doses while awaiting the shipment. Our focus currently is on residents, staff and essential caregivers in LTCH/RHs. The hospital has been allocated the Pfizer vaccine and their shipment dates have also been impacted.

      R. Bortolin asked when the next shipment can be expected and what is Windsor-Essex’s allotment of the vaccine. Would this allotment cover remaining second doses and would it be enough for the next round of vaccinations. 

      T. Marentette said that due to security agreements this is some of the information that the health unit was asked not to disclose.  We should be able to complete all second doses for individuals that received their first dose, and there should be enough supply to complete both first and second doses in LTCH/RHs. For homes in outbreak residents and staff will need to be immunized once their outbreak has been rescinded.  We need to work together to protect this group, and will likely continue addressing LTCH/RHs into mid or late February 2021. 

      J. Lund inquired as to why our region has higher rates of the positive cases than other areas of the province, i.e. are individuals continuing to go to work while they have symptoms.  Dr. Ahmed noted we have been looking at the data. Once we pass a significant threshold of community spread, it can get out of control. There could be a number of reasons for the numbers, i.e. do individuals follow public health guidelines, do they have access to PPE, do they stay at home and isolate when required and do they have benefits through their workplace to accommodate this.  During case and contact management investigation, our team continues to provide education around mitigating the spread. 

      Dr. Ahmed said that there is a definite need for support from the Federal and Provincial government, and without it, it creates challenges for many. 

      E. Sleiman noted that the City is getting inquiries from individuals with disabilities dependent on PSWs for assistance, and are asking if they are in Phase 1 to receive the vaccine, but direction on prioritization is coming from the province. 

      G. McNamara asked where PSW’s who are not tied to LTCH/RHs would be in the queue, as many individuals in the community are depending on them for support. 

      Dr. Ahmed said this is a bigger discussion we are having with the province as well as our colleagues.  Adults receiving chronic home care will come after individuals in high risk settings.  The most significant predictor for people impacted by COVID-19 is their age.  If the vaccine were prioritized by age that would be the simplest solution, but we are going through this with a limited vaccine supply and recommendations by province.  Dr. Ahmed would like to prioritize immunizations by age, and believes this is the only way to protect individuals suffering the most severe complications.   There are no simple answers and we are speaking with the province to help the most vulnerable in the community.

      G. Kaschak asked if there were any concerns around the agri-sector and that he receives questions around housing/living conditions.  T. Marentette said there are currently cases among 11 farms and there are workers in isolation. There are 57 active cases in the agri-sector that we continue to follow, and numbers increase.  One case can spread to an entire bunkhouse.  F. Lawal is working directly with the farms and our public health inspectors are working with the Ministry of Labour when cases are identified. Dr. Ahmed said when a farms is ready for temporary foreign workers to come in and work, the farmers comply with public health regulations. Our public health inspectors do the inspection from a public health perspective, but the overall housing strategy is not something that the health unit can answer too.  G. Kaschak said he wants a better update at the next Board meeting. 

      J. Lund said individuals can be eligible for government support, but only if they have completed their income tax returns. The Canada Revenue Agency has a list of local agencies that can assist people in completing their tax returns to see if they are eligible for programs or grants. 

      Moved by:    Rino Bortolin
      Seconded by:  Judy Lund
      That the information be received.

  6. Approval of Minutes
    1. Regular Board Meeting: December 17, 2020

      Moved by:  Judy Lund
      Seconded by:  Rino Bortolin
      That the minutes be approved.

  7. Business Arising – None
  8. Consent Agenda
      1. Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program 2020 (K. McBeth)
        Brought to the Board for information.
      2. First Responder Curriculum Project – Mental Health Literacy and Resiliency – Building (N. Dupuis)
        Brought to the Board for information.
      3. December Communications Recap (L. Gregg)
        Brought to the Board for information.

        Moved by:  Joe Bachetti
        Seconded by:  John Scott
        That the information reports be received.

  9. New Business
    1. Budget Timing (T. Marentette/L. Gregg)
      T. Marentette said the WECHU typically brings its annual budget to the Board for approval in October.  As we continue to focus on the pandemic and work to meet the needs of the Ministry and the community, we are asking that a Special Board Budget meeting be scheduled to present the Budget.  The Budget is due to the Ministry on March 1, 2021

    2. CTS Update – Next Steps (T. Marentette)

      N. Dupuis said as we continue to update the Board, we anticipated we would be further along in the process at the end of 2020.  We have assigned a Coordinator to use the criteria for site selection to start looking at listings in priority areas.  We are hoping to start this process in the next week or so and are reaching out to landlords and leaseholders and will lead the search for a potential property.

      R. Bortolin asked if WECHU is successful in finding a location and a conditional lease could be agreed upon, how long would you anticipate it would be before public consultation would begin. N. Dupuis said once a possible site is narrowed down we will revisit what public consultation would look like during COVID, and it will likely take a couple of months for us to get to the point of consultation. T. Marentette said that it’s hard to predict timelines due to the pandemic.  R. Bortolin noted that it could realistically take another year when looking at all the steps involved.


      W-E Vaccine Rollout Plan (T. Marentette)
      T. Marentette said that the WECHU submitted its Vaccine Rollout Plan to the Ministry, which was due on January 20, 2021.

      We have been administering our allotment of vaccine in our community to LTCH/RHs and would like to acknowledge our staff in support of these homes.  It was quite an accomplishment and Windsor-Essex was one of the pilot sites.  The impact of the pandemic to LTCH/RHs in our region has been devastating and we are glad to be moving forward with immunizations for this vulnerable group.  

      Healthcare providers, physicians, nurse practitioners, walk-in clinics, family health teams have been administering the flu vaccine with over 104,000 doses this flu season, and pharmacies with 53,000 doses.  As the supply of COVID vaccine is received in our region we are anticipate that these healthcare providers will be actively involved in the roll out plan.  Other priorities in our plan include vaccine deliver models for the agri-sector, congregate settings, prioritized neighbourhoods and other groups considered at risk.  Mass immunization clinics will also be needed when there is a steady and reliable supply of vaccine. 

      With our strategy comes some challenges, one being the distribution of the vaccine. Once received, primary care providers and pharmacies need to maintain the cold chain to sustain effectiveness and to ensure every dose is used to mitigate vaccine wastage.  The other challenge is the Ministry’s reporting system, COVax, and we are working with the province as a pilot site to note issues and efficiencies.

      Other priorities we will focus on are adults in First Nations communities, Chronic Home Care, Low German Communities, Homeless individuals, Newcomers and workers in the Agri-Sector.  Next steps will include working with our partners to further develop our plans.  R. Bortolin asked how the priority would work, will individuals be put on the list and how will this be communicated. 

      T. Marentette said that this is a misconception, there is no list.   We would like to utilize our primary care provider network and stakeholders.  Physicians and pharmacies have their own lists of patients and they can prioritize by age through their existing networks to get these individuals vaccinated.  We are looking at mass immunizations sites once we receive more vaccine supply.  There is a lot of work that still needs to be done to ensure that all priority groups get included. Our efforts have focused on the vaccination or residents, staff and essential caregivers in LTCH/RHs. We are also working on a broader communication strategy regarding the vaccine rollout in WEC.

      T. Marentette noted that we have had meetings with the local municipal CAO’s around identifying possible mass immunization site locations in the county.  Leamington has been identified as one of the municipalities and Windsor will also require a mass clinic site.  More details will come, and this is all dependent on vaccine supply, but we will ensure that the process is in place and we are ready should supplies be shipped earlier than expected.  We were expecting to receive approximately 10,000 doses in February, but with delays in shipments, this is not going to happen.  We were also planning on allocations of the vaccine to double each month until June, and are still hoping for that.  

      In terms of inventory and supplies for immunizations, some supply is on hand and other various ancillary supplies will be ordered from the Ministry. 

      R. Bortolin said that this is a huge undertaking and understands how complicated this is.  The WECHU team has been working non-stop since March 2020, some with no days off.  The entire team merits a huge thank you.  This is an emotional issue as the vaccine is seen as “the end” of a difficult time, and the WECHU team has already proven they are ahead of the curve.

      Moved by:   Tracey Bailey
      Seconded by:  Ed Sleiman
      That the information be received. 

  10. Other Board of Health Resolutions/Letters
    1. Town of Kingsville – Letter to The Hon. Doug Ford, The Hon. Minister Christine Elliott, Medical         Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed and the Windsor-Essex County Board of Health – Resolution in Support of Small Businesses to remain open
    2. Town of Essex – Letter to The Hon. Doug Ford, The Hon. Minister Christine Elliott, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, and CEO Theresa Marentette, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Resolution requesting that immediate action be taken to deem Small Business as Essential Services

    Moved by:  Tracey Bailey
    Seconded by: Gary Kaschak
    That the information be received.

  11. Committee of the Whole (CLOSED SESSION, in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act)

    The Board moved into Committee of the Whole at 5:34 pm
    The Board moved out of Committee of the Whole at 5:50 pm

  12. Next Meeting: At the Call of the Chair, or February 18, 2021 – Via Video
  13. Adjournment

    Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
    Seconded by:  Joe Bachetti
    That the meeting be adjourned.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:52 pm.