Annual Report 2020

2020 Rising to the challenge

Medical Officer of Health MessageMessage from Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

The year 2020 was like no other for Public Health Sudbury & Districts—in fact, for our entire health system and community. At the early onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health jumped into action to prepare for a thorough and comprehensive response for our communities. Extensive planning, immediate preparations, and emergency response exercises with Public Health staff and community partners signalled the start of what would be our agency’s largest public health response in its history. The pandemic forced Public Health to quickly pivot and dedicate significant resources to protect our communities. Our ability to adjust and respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 were (and continue to be) heavily reliant on well-established and respectful relationships from which we have benefited with community agencies, service providers, health professionals, and municipal counterparts.

Starting in January of 2020 and continuing for the remainder of the year, our focus and dedication turned to responding to COVID-19. This necessary yet abrupt shift in our public health priorities meant the reduction or suspension of many important public health services. We have worked diligently as an agency and a community to reduce the spread of the virus. However, we must also acknowledge that our pandemic response efforts significantly impacted our ability to deliver many programs and services upon which so many in our community rely. Even with those reductions, I am proud of the work we were able to continue throughout the year. The 2020 Annual Report highlights just some of the important work of Public Health that, in addition to our pandemic response, did continue. For example, this work includes efforts related to community drug strategies, family health programming, and food safety and health hazard inspections.

I am incredibly proud of the dedication, resiliency, and the professionalism of Public Health staff—each of whom I consider a hero in their own right—our community partners, and the skillful leadership of the Board of Health for their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment throughout the pandemic. Together, we continue to rise to the challenges presented by the pandemic and continue to promote and protect health and prevent disease in the communities we serve.

It is my pleasure to present Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ 2020 Annual Report: Rising to the Challenge.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Board of Health message

Message from René Lapierre

Chair, Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

Rising to the challenge is a great way to describe Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ level of community responsiveness in 2020. From early in the year, Public Health jumped into action to respond to COVID-19 with invaluable support from partner agencies and the community as a whole. Guided by Dr. Penny Sutcliffe’s leadership and drawing on the agency’s organizational values—humility, trust, and respect—Public Health continues to rise to the day-to-day challenges of COVID-19 and other public health priorities to meet the needs of the communities throughout the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.

While COVID-19 has taken its toll, it is in situations like these that our collective resilience is tested. These are also situations that can lead to growth and unity, and further confirm the importance of a strong, local public health system which cannot be understated. Whether directly or indirectly, 2020 has truly put that into perspective for each and every one of us.

The investments we make in our public health system are critical, and the benefits are far-reaching. Public Health offers crucial programs and services, responding proactively as well as reactively to community needs.

Through the steadfast dedication of Public Health staff and our community’s support and ongoing commitments, I am confident we can continue to work toward achieving the best possible health for all.

I am honoured to serve as Board Chair, and I am pleased to present the 2020 Annual Report: Rise to the Challenge.

René Lapierre

Health hazards, inspections, and investigations

Health hazards, inspections, and investigations

The pandemic significantly impacted many businesses, employers, and service providers, and required a shift to virtual workspaces for many. However, the importance of and need for Public Health to conduct routine inspections and investigations, in a COVID-19-safe manner, persisted. Public health inspectors inspected food premises, personal services settings, public pools, and beaches. Our critical work to ensure the water you drink is safe was never compromised, for example, issuing drinking water or boil water advisories, as needed. We also responded to threats of emerging diseases and enteric outbreaks, and investigated health hazards, as seen with our comprehensive response to a large local hepatitis A outbreak linked to a local grocery store. This response included investigating and identifying the hazard, informing the community of the risks and precautions, and rapidly mounting hepatitis A vaccinations clinics to help prevent further infections and spread of the illness.

Community drug strategies

Community drug strategies

COVID-19 is not the only crisis our community is facing. Our collaborations to develop community drug strategies have been at the forefront of efforts to create locally viable responses to the opioid crisis. Throughout 2020, we continued to work closely with our community partners in Espanola, Greater Sudbury, Manitoulin, and Sudbury East to work toward identifying effective community drug strategies for each respective community. We continued working toward our goal of building safer and healthier communities, free from harms related to substance use. To further draw attention to increasing opioid-related harms across our region, three drug warnings and two drug alerts were issued, and over 30 media interviews were conducted. The Those People are Us and We Are Jeff campaigns were promoted through television ads, social media posts, newspapers ads, and on billboards to help reduce the stigma of substance use and to foster empathy and compassion, and highlight how we all can be part of the solutions.

In 2020, the results from the Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study (NAFS) were released and indicated that Greater Sudbury would benefit from supervised consumption services (SCS). The findings were based on community, expert, and community partner input. Letters of support were received to proceed with the implementation of SCS and an Application Advisory Committee was created to work toward federal and provincial applications for funding and an exemption to operate a SCS.

Healthy families, growth, and development

Healthy families, growth, and development

With a need to adapt to the needs of the community and recognizing the importance of public health services focused on family health, and growth and development, Public Health continued to offer invaluable programs services. For example, prenatal classes shifted to an online platform to allow expectant parents, their partners, and other health professionals to access information about pregnancy, labour and delivery, and what to expect and adapting to life with a new baby. Our Health Information Line continued to respond to calls from clients with questions about breastfeeding, vaccinations, healthy growth and development, infant feeding and care, car seat information, and general health inquiries. Our breastfeeding clinic and Healthy Babies Healthy Children program also focused on offering virtual appointments and consultations, though continued to maintain meeting with clients face-to-face, where needed, while following strict COVID-19 protocols.

Recapping Public Health’s response to COVID-19 in 2020

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has been actively planning, coordinating, and responding to COVID-19 since the beginning of 2020, with even more focus since the first case was confirmed in our service area on March 10, 2020, and the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The dedicated response to COVID-19 was ongoing throughout 2020, and the timeline below highlights a few key events and milestones.

Public Health Sudbury & District 2020 timeline of COVID-19. Data for this chart can be found in the table below.

Financials: 2020 approved budget: $27,564,725. Breakdown percentage of: 13.36% operating and occupancy for cost-shared ($3,683,445 actual expenses), 5.20% from 100% provincially funded public health programs ($1,433,416 actual expenses), 81.44% of cost-shared programs ($22,447,864 actual expenses).Financials

This item was last modified on September 21, 2023