January 2021 Board of Health Meeting
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Meeting held via video.
- Call to Order
- BOARD ELECTIONS
- Agenda Approval
- Announcement of Conflict of Interest
- Update (W. Ahmed)
- COVID-19 Update
- Approval of Minutes
- Regular Board Meeting: December 17, 2020
- Business Arising
- Consent Agenda
- INFORMATION REPORTS
- Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program 2020 (K. McBeth)
- First Responder Curriculum Project – Mental Health Literacy and Resiliency – Building (N. Dupuis)
- December Communications Recap
- RECOMMENDATION REPORTS
- INFORMATION REPORTS
- New Business
- Budget Timing (T. Marentette/L. Gregg)
- CTS Update – Next Steps (T. Marentette)
- W-E Vaccine Rollout Plan (T. Marentette)
- Other Board of Health Resolutions/Letters – For information
- 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
- 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 Businesses as Essential Services
- Committee of the Whole (Closed Session in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act)
- Next Meeting: At the Call of the Chair February 18 , 2021 – Via Video
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First Responder Curriculum Project – Mental Health Literacy & Resiliency-Building
BACKGROUND - The First Responder Mental Health Coalition (FRMHC)
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition among national policy makers and legislators that first responders’ unique experiences result in mental health needs distinct from many other occupational groups. In 2016, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) amended the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (1997) with Bill 163, Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (2016). Under Bill-163, all employers of first responders are required to develop, sustain, and implement post-traumatic stress disorder prevention plans.
In support of these legislative changes, the MOL issued a call for proposals for the 2017-2018 Occupational Health, Safety, and Prevention Innovation Program (OHSPIP). First responder organizations and other supporting agencies in Windsor-Essex County (WEC), including the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), formed a First Responder Mental Health Coalition (FRMHC) to prepare and submit a successful OHSPIP proposal.
In 2020, a five year sustainability plan was developed by the FRMHC for 2020-2025 to maintain the coalition beyond the OHSPIP grant and to build on the initiatives and programs established to date. In 2021, membership on the FRMHC includes all first responder organizations in WEC representing policing/law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services (EMS), and emergency healthcare, as well as several local partner agencies with a vested interest in promoting and supporting first responder mental health at the local level. These partner agencies include:
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor-Essex County Branch (CMHA-WECB)
- Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE)
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU)
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
- St. Clair College
THE FIRST RESPONDER CURRICULUM PROJECT
As part of the 2017-2018 OHSPIP proposal, six project commitments were identified for the partnership to promote and support first responder mental health in WEC. The WECHU has taken a lead role in fulfilling the second project commitment outlined through the OHSPIP proposal:
“Work with representative(s) from St. Clair College to investigate the feasibility of developing a common mental health module to be included in all First Responder programs offered by the college (i.e., Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training, Police Foundations, Paramedics)”.
The First Responder Curriculum Project was initiated by the WECHU in 2018 as a means to fulfill this project commitment. The purpose of the First Responder Curriculum Project is to develop a mental health literacy and resiliency-based curriculum module that can be embedded into local post-secondary programs for first responder students and allied health professionals, including firefighters, paramedics, police officers, nurses, and physicians.
Prior to the development of curricular content, the WECHU conducted a needs assessment to determine the key training needs and opportunities surrounding mental health literacy and resiliency-building for student and early-career first responders. The WECHU presented the final needs assessment results to the FRMHC on December 10th of 2020. Key informant interviews were conducted with 29 local representatives from the policing/law enforcement, fire and rescue, paramedic, emergency healthcare, and higher educational professions (n=28 interviews). The data was analyzed and key themes were identified that will drive the development and implementation of the curriculum module(s):
- Curriculum Topics – The main training needs and opportunities for student and early-career first responders as related to personal/professional mental health literacy and resiliency include:
- Resiliency-Building & Coping
- Stigma Reduction & Help-Seeking Efficacy
- Mental/Emotional Readiness for the Realities of the Role
- Mental Health & Mental Illness – Theoretical, Conceptual, & Clinical Concepts
- Strategic Uses of Social Supports
- Early Intervention & Proactivity
- Work-Life Balance
- Team Building
- Delivery Formats – Key themes supported the development of a hybrid online and in-person curriculum module with the embedment of lived experience from first responders in the profession (n=25).
- Implementation Methods – Key themes supported the early and continual implementation of an adaptable, inter-professional curriculum module into the following post-secondary and new recruit training programs for local students and early-career first responders:
- Pre-Service Firefighter Education & Training Program (St. Clair College)
- Paramedic Program (St. Clair College)
- Police Foundations Program (St. Clair College)
- Bachelor of Nursing Program (St. Clair College & University of Windsor)
- New recruit training programs at local first responder organizations in WEC, specifically volunteer recruit training programs at local fire departments
The WECHU is currently transitioning into the curriculum development and implementation phases of the project. In 2021, project leads at the WECHU will use the needs assessment findings to inform the development of educational and instructional components for the curriculum. The WECHU continues to consult and collaborate with local representatives on the FRMHC for knowledge, expertise, and support in solidifying key areas for curricular content, structural design, and student engagement in the curriculum module.
In collaboration with several interested members on the FRMHC, project leads at the WECHU plan to coordinate follow-up meeting(s) with the first responder higher educational group at St. Clair College early in 2021 to update their team on the recent initiatives completed for this project and to solidify partnered strategies for implementation. Future consultations with leadership at St. Clair College, as well as representatives on the FRMHC, will inform the processes and operations undertaken in 2021-2022 to pilot, implement, and evaluate the curriculum module following its initial development and review.
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January 21, 2021
Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program 2020
The Environmental Health Department conducts annual monitoring and testing of mosquito populations in Windsor and Essex County (WEC) as part of the WECHU’s Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases Program.
Mosquito Surveillance and Testing
Adult mosquito surveillance runs from May to early October every year and may extend depending on the weather and temperatures. Species-specific traps are deployed in various locations throughout WEC to capture mosquitoes for testing and identification to determine the presence of West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus, and Zika Virus in our community. Invasive mosquito species Aedes aegypti (Yellow Fever Mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito) are also monitored each year through our Enhanced Mosquito Surveillance Program. These species are known carriers of diseases such as Zika, Malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya. The WECHU received a federal grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Infectious Disease and Climate Change Program (August 2019 to March 2022) to study the effects of climate change and mosquito populations in our local communities. For the 2020 season, an additional 14 traps were placed in Leamington to monitor mosquito populations as part of this grant.
During this year’s season:
- Total number of mosquitoes trapped: 205,569
- Total number of pools tested: 2,052
- Number of positive pools for West Nile virus : 30
- Number of positive pools for Zika virus: 0
- Number of positive pools for EEE virus: 0
The mosquito control program involves applying larvicide to catch basins and standing water sites such as ditches and lagoons that hold water. All municipalities in WEC have standing water by-laws in place. In 2020, over 135,000 treatments of larvicide were applied to roadside catch basins and standing water sites.
The WECHU follows up on all human cases of West Nile Virus. Cases are investigated to assess if additional mosquito control activities are required. In 2020, there were two confirmed and one probable case of WNV in WEC. To date, there have been no human cases of Zika Virus identified in WEC.
Education and Awareness Raising Activities
Fight the Bite public awareness campaign was launched in June and included key messages that focused on preventing mosquito bites, removal of standing water and the cause and symptoms of West Nile Virus. These messages were communicated through the WECHU website, radio, billboard and bus shelter ads, social media, and print materials.
All activities, including monitoring and testing mosquitoes and education regarding personal protection from mosquito bites and removing standing water, will continue in 2021. Targeted promotion and messaging will be used to reach priority populations and inform the public of hot spots identified through previous monitoring efforts.
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