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Meeting Document Type: 

Board Members Present:

Gary McNamara, Tracey Bailey, Joe Bachetti, Rino Bortolin, Fabio Costante, Gary Kaschak, Judy Lund, Ed Sleiman

Border Member Regrets:

Larry Snively

Administration Present:

Theresa Marentette, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Lorie Gregg, Nicole Dupuis, 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 4:37 p.m.
  2. Agenda Approval

    Moved by:  Judy Lund    
    Seconded by:  Joe Bachetti
    That the agenda be approved.

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

      Dr. W. Ahmed noted that positive cases of COVID-19 are declining, not only in our region but also across the province.  We saw a significant increase in positive cases in the December to January timeframe and since then cases continue to decline overall and we seem to be going in the right direction. 

      Cases were higher in the younger population, likely due to the higher vaccination rate in our older population.  Vaccination has commenced for those 12 -17 years and we should see a decline of cases in this age group as well. Hospitalization rates are also decreasing, and all of these results are due to the benefits from the vaccine.  As case rates continues to decline in our community, we will be in a much better position when the province decides to start relaxing restrictions.  The Delta Variant of Concern (VOC) is still a concern in some regions of the province, but not necessarily in Windsor-Essex.

      From an exposure perspective, 30% of cases are from close contacts, 30% from household contacts, and 30% from community transmission. 

      Data is indicating that Canada has surpassed all other countries in administering first doses of the vaccine and we are in a good position to see the same with second doses.  Windsor-Essex administers, on average, just over 5,000 doses per day and our vaccine coverage rate for individuals 12 years and older for one dose is at 72%.  Coverage rates for individuals 18+ who have received their first and second dose is 27.4%.

      The majority of vaccinations continue to be administered at St. Clair College SportsPlex and Downtown Windsor Hall, followed by other mass sites, pharmacies, primary care providers and targeted mobile clinics.  Overall 70% of doses administered has been Pfizer BioNTech, 15% Moderna and 15% AstraZeneca.  

      R. Bortolin noted some of the comments made in the media yesterday around those who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine might receive Moderna as their second dose, due to the increased amount of Moderna expected in our region.  He also noted that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) stated individuals who received AstraZeneca as their first dose, that an mRNA is preferred for the second dose. 

      Dr. Ahmed said there is evidence based on mixing of vaccines.  Based on criteria all mRNA vaccines will react the same way, so mixing Pfizer and Moderna will not reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.  For those who have received AstraZeneca as their first dose there is strong data that mixing these vaccines will not decrease the effectiveness.  Many countries support the interchangeability.  G. McNamara said we want to ensure we are not creating confusion for our communities around the vaccines.  We need to provide the public with a level of comfort that the messaging from health professionals is uniform and consistent. 

      R. Bortolin noted the 3 Steps for Reopening the province, and since we are seeing the positive results in our region, is there a possibility to move to the next stage sooner, and what are we looking at in terms of numbers.  Dr. Ahmed said that the provincial criteria for Step 2 is to have at least 70% first dose coverage.  Windsor-Essex is ahead of the province with 73% and transmission of the virus and cases are declining. R. Bortolin would like to see Dr. Ahmed advocate to the province, as the Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex, that we move to Step 2 before the provincial reopening date of June 30, 2021. Dr. Ahmed said he could express his interest in our region moving forward earlier.

      J. Lund asked if there are individuals who have contracted the virus after receiving the vaccine.  Dr. Ahmed said that the majority of individuals who have become severely ill from COVID-19 and hospitalized generally have not been vaccinated.  For those who are vaccinated and contract the virus, the likelihood of them becoming very ill is low.  Data from clinical trials is showing that all of the approved vaccines are good in preventing hospitalization, even with one dose. Data is also showing that we have benefited the most by increasing the interval of the vaccine and we are leading in the vaccine rollout.  

      J. Lund asked what we would expect to see in our region once more individuals are fully vaccinated. Dr. Ahmed said we need to look at the province in totality.  When restrictions are relaxed this provides the virus with a transmittable host.  There is always a risk with travel and rates of transmission in various parts of the world. Once our international borders open our local risk will likely increase.  Our vaccine coverage rates are over 70% while Detroit Michigan’s coverage rate is only at 30%.

      Plans continue to consolidate the mass clinics into one site.  Downtown Windsor Hall will be closing on June 23, 2021 and the WFCU Centre will be closing the end of July, transitioning to the Sears location at Devonshire Mall.  We anticipate that the two county sites, Leamington and Amherstburg, will close by the end of August 2021.  Pharmacies and primary care providers will also have access to the vaccines and the Sears location will be able to accommodate both first and second doses. We continue to book by appointment only, with no walk-ins at this time. 

      Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
      Seconded by:  Joe Bachetti
      That the information be received.

      Moved by:  Rino Bortolin 
      Seconded by:  Gary Kaschak
      That the Board endorse/support the actions of the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, to advocate on behalf of Windsor-Essex and move into Step 2, at his discretion, ahead of the province’s original date of June 30, 2021.

  5. Approval of Minutes
    1. Regular Board Meeting:  May 20, 2021

      Moved by:  Judy Lund
      Seconded by:  Gary Kaschak
      That the minutes be approved.

  6. Business Arising – None
  7. Consent Agenda
      1. Temporary Foreign Workers COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy (N. Dupuis)
        To be brought to the Board for information.

      2. COVID-19 Case and Contact Management (F. Lawal)
        To be brought to the Board for information.

      3. Recruitment Through the COVID-19 Pandemic (D. Sibley)
        To be brought to the Board for information.

      4. COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Windsor-Essex (K. McBeth)
        To be brought to the Board for information.

      5. May Communications Recap
        Moved by:  Judy Lund
        Seconded by:  Gary Kaschak
        That the above information be received.

      1. Consumption and Treatment Services Site Identification and Consultation (T. Marentette)
        T. Marentette said that the WECHU conducted a community consultation approximately two years earlier on establishing a Supervised Injection Site in Windsor-Essex.  This Resolution is being brough to the Board as the situation in our community has not improved. Individuals suffering from overdose and death in our region has increased and is at the point of public crises.  We are in the final stages of completing the Consumption and Treatment Services Site (CTS) applications for both Health Canada and the Ministry of Health for Windsor Essex, which requires the idenfication of a site.  

        This Resolution is being brought to the Board of Health to support the WECHU administration to finalize a site for the CTS, pending no concerns, based on the outcome of the community consultation;  that the Board of Health support administration to continue with the next steps of the consultation process which includes seeking City of Windsor council approval for the proposed site;  and that administration enter into an agreement with the proposed landlord to secure the site for submission of an application.
        Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
        Seconded by:  Fabio Costante
        That the Board support the above Resolution to finalize and enter into an agreement with a proposed landlord to establish a CTS site in Windsor, ON and that WECHU continue with the community consultation process, including seeking City of Windsor approval for such site.




        CEO Transition (T. Marentette)
        T. Marentette advised that the WECHU requires a Motion for Board approval of the appointment of Nicole Dupuis as CEO of the organization effective July 1, 2021, and her ability to bind the organization.  

        G. McNamara noted that today is Theresa Marentette’s last Board of Health meeting as the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s CEO.  On behalf of all Board members, WECHU staff members and residents of Windsor-Essex we all owe you a great debt for your leadership and professionalism.  Theresa continued to shine through this pandemic while under tremendous pressure.  Through your leadership you proved how important public health is in working toward the end goal in this pandemic.  Compared to other regions, even with our unique challenges, i.e. International Border Crossing, Temporary Foreign Workers, you guided us well and we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  We all wish you the very best.  God Bless and we all sincerely thank you for your leadership and friendship over the course of the years.  The Board reiterated their confidence in WECHU administration, and thanked Theresa for her strong leadership over the years and welcomed Nicole Dupuis into the role of CEO. 
        Moved by:  Judy Lund
        Seconded by:  Gary Kaschak
        That the Board approve the appointment of Nicole Dupuis as CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, effective July 1, 2021, and her ability to bind the corporation.

  8. New Business - None
  9. Other Board of Health Resolutions/Letters
    1. The Town of Amherstburg – Letter to the Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario – COVID-19 Shutdown, Support for Small Businesses – In support of the Town of Essex’s Resolution dated April 14, 2021 regarding same

    2. The Corporation of the County of Essex – Letter to the Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario – Request for Discretionary Regional Reopening Strategy    
      Moved by:    Rino Bortolin 
      Seconded by:  Gary Kaschak
      That the information be received. 

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

    The Board moved into Committee of the Whole at 5:32pm
    The Board moved out of Committee of the Whole at 5:35 pm



  11. Next Meeting: At the Call of the Chair, or July 15, 2021 – Via Video
  12. Adjournment

    Moved by:   Theresa Marentette 
    Seconded by:  Gary McNamara
    That the meeting be adjourned.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:40 pm.