Board of Health Meeting Summary – September 17, 2020
Thank you to the Town of Smiths Falls, the Municipality of Beckwith, and Lanark County Council for passing resolutions thanking the Health Unit for its important work to prevent COVID-19 in our communities.
Provincial Public Health Grant
The 2020 Provincial Accountability Agreement was received on August 21, 2020 and included a one-time Mitigation Grant for 2020 and 2021 to offset the increase in the levy that was initially required of obligated municipalities as a result of the provincial/municipal cost-sharing change for 2020.
After a quiet August we have seen a few people living in our community who have been infected by the virus elsewhere. In Ottawa and elsewhere, gatherings where people are in close contact are contributing to a rise in the number of people being infected with COVID-19. Avoiding gatherings has been a focus of our media messaging. This is particularly important now with school openings.
The Health Unit has worked closely with our School Boards to support the implementation of Ministry of Education Guidelines for School Re-Opening. Plans are in place to respond to a school student or staff member who becomes infected with COVID-19. Our website also includes many resources for parents and students.
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville gave the Health Unit an award for being the runner-up for the most funds raised for a Health Sector in the 2019 campaign.
Programs and Services
Language Express transitioned to telepractice in March. Our Speech-Language Pathologists and Communicative Disorders Assistants have embraced the challenge of supporting children and families remotely and we are now averaging 300-400 telepractice client visits per month using the PHIPA-compliant version of Zoom, as well as the telephone. The majority of parent feedback has been very positive. In October we will be starting to offer some in-person clinic visits to a few clients for whom telepractice is impossible or is not appropriate, and we expect to gradually transition to more and more in-person services.
Other programs also continue while we focus on COVID.
- We have also seen an increased uptake in our breastfeeding and infant immunization clinics as some primary care physicians are still not open to in person appointments.
- Work is beginning to support the new Brockville Municipal Drug Strategy.
- Plans to resume the mobile harm reduction unit to address the increased number of overdoses in our area are underway.
- The Health Unit is providing space so the Infant Hearing Program is able to assess babies on a waiting list with additional provincial funding.
Lanark, Leeds, Grenville Ontario Health
The Lanark, Leeds, Grenville Ontario Health Team (LLG OHT) has been invited to develop a full application by the Ministry of Health. It includes the people who are provided care by primary care providers in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the Brockville General Hospital, and people who are provided care by primary care providers from the southern part of Lanark County and the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital.
The First Year Objectives of the LLG OHT are to:
- Create a Primary Care Network (PCN) for the LLG OHT
- Work towards ensuring all residents are attached to a primary care home
- Create a system where mental health and addiction services are attached to all primary care settings
The Health Unit has been participating on the Steering Committee to bring a public health perspective to the discussion. We have provided data on mental health illness in the population, and the health concerns of people who are homeless or inadequately housed, and those who use illicit drugs. Our Harm Reduction Program will be working with other members of the LLG OHT on the mental health and addiction objective. Over time we will be able to participate in other organized efforts to promote health and prevent health problems.