Item - 2022.HL38.2
- This item was considered by Board of Health on June 20, 2022 and was adopted without amendment.
HL38.2 - Update on COVID-19 Response and Other Public Health Functions
- Decision Type:
The Board of Health:
1. Requested the Medical Officer of Health to report back to the Board of Health in 2023 with an update on new, resumed, and enhanced public health functions, as well as a process for the development of a new strategic plan to guide Toronto Public Health's long-term priorities.
Decision Advice and Other Information
The Medical Officer of Health gave a presentation on Update on COVID-19 Response and Other Public Health Functions.
This report provides an update on Toronto Public Health's (TPH) response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and addresses direction from the Board of Health to provide an update on the resumption of programs that were paused or scaled-back due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as planning to address emerging public health priorities.
With key indicators showing that the sixth wave of the COVID-19 is subsiding, TPH is developing and implementing plans to resume or expand non-COVID-19 related public health functions, as resources permit. However, there remains an ongoing need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including potential future surges. In the short-term, TPH is planning to maintain capacity to respond to COVID-19, while also focusing on other major health issues that affect Torontonians.
Toronto Public Health has identified three key goals that will guide this work: 1) to maintain and improve the health status of Toronto's population, 2) to reduce inequities in health status, and 3) to prepare for and respond to outbreaks of disease and public health emergencies. The pursuit of these goals will be informed by evidence-informed decision-making, centered on equity considerations, and premised on the understanding that public health is a public good that benefits the whole community.
With this in mind, TPH has identified the following as priorities for action for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023:
- continuing COVID-19 response and incorporating lessons learned from the COVID-19 response to support TPH's readiness for other emerging public health issues;
- responding to the drug poisoning epidemic;
- promoting mental health; and
- rebuilding public health functions.
Each of these priorities encompasses a range of actions that aim to maximize the impact and benefit to the overall health of Torontonians, such as restoring routine public health programming, reducing service backlogs, and collaborating with partners to expand access to resources, programs, and services.
In working to achieve these short-term priorities, TPH will continue to collaborate with other orders of government and partner organizations, especially in relation to the development of policies that support the social determinants of health. This work must also be accompanied by efforts to acknowledge and support the staff that have worked tirelessly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, invest in their well-being and resilience, and provide the tools and infrastructure to assist them in serving the public as TPH embarks on this next phase in working towards a healthier Toronto.
Appendix A - Re-started and Scaled-up Toronto Public Health Functions
(June 20, 2022) Presentation from the Medical Officer of Health on Update on COVID-19 Response and Other Public Health Functions