The Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Board of Health’s June meeting was hosted by virtual conference on Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2021.
Doctor Lindsay Bowthorpe, Resident Physician in the Queen’s University Public Health and Preventative Medicine Program, gave an update on the state of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region, noting the area is still in the “pandemic response phase, but we are to look at the recovery phase for the organization and starting to look at our programs, as well as our continuity of operations and some of the activities that we would need to undertake for recovery.”
In the meantime, she pointed out, “As you are likely aware, one of the variants that is causing the most concern is the ‘Delta’ variant, the variant that was first found in India. And we’re noticing that it is about 60 per cent more transmissible than ‘Alpha,’ the variant that was first found in the UK, B.1.1.7. And, as well. that having two doses significantly reduces the risk of symptomatic illness, hospitalization and severe disease.”
“Because of the Delta variant in Ontario, as well as around Canada, we are looking at the accelerated second doses in terms of being able to get as many people as possible to have the most protection against this variant as soon as possible. And this week, people who received their first dose on or before May 9 became eligible for their second dose. And we anticipate next week that anyone over the age of 18 within Ontario will be eligible for their second dose,” she explained, noting that this will be as supply allows and thanking everyone, “for being patient with all of our available vaccine appointments, as well because of a delay in shipment of Pfizer.”
Twenty-five per cent of the 18+ population within KFL&A has received their second dose, said Bowthorpe, “which is really what we are looking towards, is getting people their second doses as soon as possible, based on our supply.”
She also pointed out that some youth appointments had been delayed by the slow shipment, stating, “We are actively looking at re-booking those as soon as possible.”
Bowthorpe then highlighted some of the different ways KFL&A Public Health is reaching different populations.
“Primary Care is offering pop up clinics, which are one-time clinics across the region that go to places where we have noticed there is lower rates of coverage. We continue to have mobile clinics where they go to the places where hard-to -each populations frequent and places where they feel safe and supported, where we can vaccinate them on site, which is also enabling us to treat populations as a whole,” she explained.
During a brief question period, Bowthorpe further pointed out that there are “different methods for folks that either are truly homebound or cannot access transportation in another way.” There is a survey on the KFL&A Public Health website to ask for a home visit to receive your vaccine, and homebound individuals may phone KFL&A Public Health to arrange a home visit.
The meeting turned then to discuss the 2020 Audit of Financial Statements (L. Huber, A. Michael, KPMG Auditors). Lori Huber took the Board through the highlights from the executive summary of KPMG’s audit findings report for 2020, “subject to the financial statements being approved here later today.”
She noted that, “There are really no significant findings to bring to your attention” with respect to KFL&A Public Health’s not-for-profit accounting and, “It really was a COVID year.”
The next subject for discussion was finding a new Chief Medical Officer of Health. Linda Murray, the acting Chief Executive Officer of KFL&A Public Health, described updating the job description with Human Resources, which did not need board approval. She recommended that the job be posted publicly for a 30-day window until Friday, Jul. 23, 2021. The Board chair could then call a meeting to discuss the candidates.
Before moving in camera, the board expressed hope that at their next scheduled meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, they would be able to move back to the discussion about opportunities for programming and projects outside the subject of COVID-19.