March 2021 Board of Health Meeting - Minutes

Meeting Document Type

Board Members Present:

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

Administration Present:

Theresa Marentette, Dr. Alexa Caturay (AMOH, Toronto Public Health), Lorie Gregg, Nicole Dupuis, Dr. Felicia Lawal, Kristy McBeth, Dan Sibley, Lee Anne Damphouse

Administration Regrets:

Dr. Wajid Ahmed

QUORUM:  Confirmed

  1. Call to Order
    Board Chair, Gary McNamara, called the meeting to order at 4:07 p.m.
  2. Agenda Approval

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

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

      G. McNamara introduced Dr. Alexa Caturay, AMOH from Toronto Public Heath, who has stepped in as Acting MOH to cover for Dr. W. Ahmed who is on a two-week leave of absence.  Dr. Caturay provided an update of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex, currently averaging about 34 cases a day.  This is a little higher than the entire Southwest Region, but on average with the provincial average.  As we come out of the second wave, the increase in cases is concerning, and we are seeing an increase of 4% in young adults between the ages of 18-34 years.  The Windsor-Essex region is also trending upward for school-aged children when compared to the average population. 

      T. Marentette said that K. McBeth and L. Gregg have been very instrumental in the vaccine rollout. L. Gregg has been keeping track of the vaccine inventory and updating reports to the Ministry of Health, and K. McBeth has been involved on the operational side with the mass and mobile clinics. 

      Currently, there are two main mass vaccination sites, the WFCU Centre in East Windsor and the 
      Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre on Sherk Street in Leamington.  The Libro Centre in Amherstburg will come on board on March 29.  Bookings in the county will be scheduled across both Leamington and Amherstburg, based on supply.  

      We are moving forward with the 80+ group and anticipate that there are 16,000 people in this age category. Those that have pre-registered will be vaccinated by late next week.  We then hope to move to the 75+ age group. The Ministry has launched a provincial vaccine booking system, but we are currently using our own.  We are somewhat ahead of the province, as they are still vaccinating the 80+ group, and if we were on that booking system, we would not be able to move out of that priority.

      Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) is vaccinating health care workers at the St. Clair College SportsPlex, starting with the Highest Priority, Very High Priority, and then High Priority, as well as adult recipients of chronic home care.  In Phase 2, eligibility will include individuals with highest risk and high risk medical conditions.  WRH is also assisting with the 80+ age group and has opened up a site in downtown Windsor at Windsor Hall.

      Windsor-Essex is also part of the Ministry’s AstraZeneca pharmacy rollout.  Locally, we have 57 pharmacies participating, including large corporate pharmacies as well as independents.  The priority group will be for individuals 60-64 years.

      We are also working with Family Health Teams across the region and the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre.   They were instrumental in assisting with COVID testing early on in the pandemic, and have now been provided with a supply of the vaccine for the 80+ within their practices.  They will also be moving to immunize patients with medical conditions.  We are also working with an Allergy Specialist for those at risk for possible adverse effects or allergic reactions. 

      Mobile teams EWEMS are also assisting with reaching the most vulnerable by immunizing in homeless shelters. WECHU has a small mobile team who continue to vaccinate in LTCH/RHs. As well, we are working with Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation and EMS to vaccinate the 80+ group in seniors’ buildings. 

      We are using all of our allotment of weekly vaccine.  Our current allocation of the Pfizer vaccine is 14,000 doses per week, decreasing to 10,000 a week in a couple of weeks.  We are also receiving 2,000 to 3,000 doses of Moderna each week.  

      Dr. A. Caturay said we are seeing an uptick of cases in the younger 18-34 age group, and we are watching to see if this trend continues.  One-third of cases usually stem from household contacts, another one-third from the community, and one-third are unknown. 

      R. Bortolin asked what the plan is to address congregate living settings.  T. Marentette said that congregate settings are in Phase 2 of the Ministry’s plan. We are still in Phase 1 but are making good progress toward Phase 2.  Phase 1 includes the seniors over 80, congregate settings of the over 80 population, individuals in LTCH/RHs and the highest priority health care workers.  

      Priority will continue to be age-based in 5 year increments and next would be the at risk populations, i.e. medical conditions and congregate settings.  These will be handled by our health unit nurses, via mobile teams with EMS, but congregate settings are not an automatic eligibility at this time. 

      Our farms and greenhouses will also be a priority at some point, and all of this will be based on vaccine supply.  We are also getting questions around those who are unable to attend a clinic and asking if we would attend private homes with EMS to vaccinate.  At this time, we are not able to safely transport the vaccine in individual doses.    

      L. Snively asked if there were any adverse reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccine here in Canada, since Europe has placed a hold on using it.  T. Marentette advised that there have been no adverse reactions reported. All adverse events following immunization are reported to our health unit and Health Canada. 

      Dr. A. Caturay said the best vaccine to receive is the one that is available to you.  All of the vaccine data is reviewed very closely by Health Canada and they are deemed safe and effective.  Europe also came out with a statement that AstraZeneca is safe to use in all of Europe.

      T. Marentette said there is information on our WECHU website on the vaccines and our managers have done an exceptional job updating it daily as information changes.  We continue to share current and relevant information on YouTube, and through questions from the media.  We are actively promoting and answering any questions around vaccine safety.

      E. Sleiman asked if it is possible to contract COVID-19 between first and second doses of receiving the vaccine.  Dr. A. Caturay said that it is possible, but the likelihood is low as the first dose offers some good protection, i.e. upwards towards 80%. 

      E. Sleiman asked if it would be possible at some point for individuals in the same household to book their appointments at the same time.  T. Marentette said as we roll out the booking schedule we are looking at ways to accommodate couples, but for the 80+ age group it was not possible. 

      G. McNamara noted that we are fortunate to have a team in place that has done phenomenal work putting our region farther ahead along in the process than the rest of the province.

      Moved by:    Rino Bortolin
      Seconded by:  Larry Snively
      That the information be received.

  5. Approval of Minutes
    1. Regular Board Meeting:  Special Board Budget Meeting: March 4, 2021

      Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
      Seconded by:  Larry Snively
      That the minutes be approved.

  6. Business Arising – None
  7. Consent Agenda
      1. Ontario Active School Travel Fund Awarded to Windsor-Essex County (N. Dupuis)
        Brought to the Board for information.
      2. Risk Management (T. Marentette/M. Frey)

        T. Marentette said that the Risk Management summary is sent to the Ministry of Health along with our budget submission. 

        M. Frey, Manager of Planning and Strategic Initiatives, walked through the Risk Management presentation, explained the Scoring and went through each category. He also discussed some of the impacts the pandemic had on WECHU’s Strategic Plan.

      3.  January/February Communications Recap
        Brought to the Board for information.


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

  8. New Business - None
  9. Other Board of Health Resolutions/Letters
    1. Kingston, Frontenac & Lennox and Addington Public Health – Letter to Hon. Doug Ford – Mandatory Sick Leave for Ontario Workers
    2. Kingston, Frontenac & Lennox and Addington Public Health – Letter to The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau – Land and Water Border Restrictions 

    3. Peterborough Public Health – Letter to Hon. Doug Ford, the Hon. Christine Elliott and the Hon. Monte McNaughton – Paid Sick Leave During an Infectious Disease Emergency

    4. Letter from the Municipality of Chatham-Kent Public Health – Letter to the Hon. Doug Ford – Paid Sick Leave during COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

    5. Letter from Queen’s Park, Peggy Sattler, MPP, London West – Private Members Bill – Bill 239 – Stay Home if you are Sick ActAdvocating for paid sick days for Ontario workers to alleviate the spread of COVID-19

    6. Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Letter to the Hon. Doug Ford – Mandatory Paid Sick Leave for Ontario Workers

    Moved by:  Tracey Bailey
    Seconded by: Ed Sleiman
    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 5:20pm
    The Board moved out of Committee of the Whole at 5:40 pm

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

    Moved by:  Rino Bortolin
    Seconded by:  Ed Sleiman
    That the meeting be adjourned.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:44 pm.