Local public health workers will start offering remote case and contact tracing for Toronto Public Health next week, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore.
“The Toronto Public Health, Peel, York, London, Waterloo have put up calls for help,” Moore announced during the KFLA board meeting, held by teleconference, on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
“We can’t succeed [in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic] unless we bring the case count down in Toronto, Peel and York,” he said. “It is in our best interest.”
Moore said Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health staff, as well the Queen’s School of Medicine and Nursing, have been enlisted.
“They need nurses, managers and doctors to help them with case and contact management,” he said. Kingston currently has the capacity to respond, he said “as we are in a good position.”
“They have asked other health agencies to support them with case and contact management, medical follow up, data input and analysis, a whole slew of issues,” he said.
Moore said the steep incline of cases seen in the first wave of COVID-19 in Ontario can largely be attributed to Toronto, then Peel and York.
Kingston’s support will be exclusively remote, he said.
“That was a pre-requisite. Peel wanted 20 of our staff to move to Peel, and that was untenable for us,” he said.
Moore said KFL&A Public Health is finalizing details of the coordination with Toronto Public Health, and expects to start case and contact tracing next week.
“We’ve asked our other sister health unit to contact York & Peel and those relationships are now building,” he said.
Moore said the collaboration will also help train to local public health staff, learn new tools and prepare for the next wave.
“I see so many positives to this,” Moore expressed.
He also believes it sends an important message.
“This shows, number one, we have a public health system. That local health agencies can help each other in times of crisis. That we’re all in this together,” he said.
Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community.
This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.