Board of Health Highlights for March 2018

March 16, 2018

Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health, updated the Board on:

Flu update

  • January 31: WDG Public Health became aware of the death of one child from influenza in Guelph.
  • February 8: A second child’s death was reported to Public Health. Infectious disease staff confirmed the first case was unrelated to the first, even though both attended the same school. Because of this tragic coincidence and the resulting media coverage, there was a heightened public concern. Public Health consistently advised that the flu threat wasn’t greater at any single location but was circulating throughout the community.  To respond to public concern, Public Health provided flu vaccination clinics in Guelph, Fergus and Orangeville.
  • February 9-February 16: 3342 doses of flu vaccine were administered. Pharmacies also reported a high volume of people seeking the flu shot.
  • February 15: Public Health held a Facebook Live event with Dr. Mercer and visiting public health physician, Dr. Tenenbaum, to answer concerned parents’ questions about the flu.

Student immunizations

Provincial legislation requires all students be fully immunized and have their records on file with Public Health.

  • November 30, 2017: Public Health mailed notices to 3987 parents or guardians of elementary students warning them that their child will face suspension on January 30 if their immunizations were not up to date and on file with Public Health. These families received up to three phone calls from Public Health to advise them of the pending suspensions.
  • January 30, 2018: 1077 elementary students were suspended. Public Health held drop-in clinics so suspended students could return to school as soon as possible.
  • January 4 and 5, 2018: High school students received notices that they will be suspended on April 12 if their vaccine records are not up to date with Public Health. Public Health is holding vaccine clinics in schools to help students get fully vaccinated and have their records updated.


A temporary Overdose Protection Site will open this May in downtown Guelph at the Community Health Centre. The site is supported by the Community Health Centre, the Guelph Family Health Team and ARCH Guelph. The site will be used to address the immediate concerns of opioid use and overdose prevention. WDG Public Health is working with community partners to help determine if a permanent site is required. Public Health is collecting data from community partners, including local hospitals and ambulance services. Public Health will work with ARCH’s needle distribution program to conduct peer-to-peer interviews with drug users to help understand local needs.