80 per cent of OPH spending in 2021 was on COVID-19

More than 80 per cent of the money Ottawa Public Health spent in 2021 was used in the fight against COVID-19, according to an annual report prepared for Monday’s board of health meeting.

The report shows that of the $169.68 million OPH spent last year, $136.5 million was on COVID-19. This includes $44.33 million in base costs and another $92.17 million in one-time costs, all of which are funded by the province.

That’s more than double the $66.61 million OPH spent on COVID-19 in 2020 and is nearly twice as much as the $71.2 million OPH spent on all of its activities in 2019.

The majority of OPH’s funding comes from the province.

One of the major COVID-19 projects in 2021 was the vaccination campaign—the largest mass vaccination campaign in the city’s history.

The report shows that more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Ottawa in 2021, with just over 1.1 million of those doses administered in community clinics.

“Community wide immunization started on February 28th at the Albion Heatherington pop-up clinic, targeted for those 80 years of age and older, quickly expanding to other channels including community clinics, after-school clinics, homebound vaccination, mobile and pop-up clinics, neighbourhood vaccination hubs, hospital clinics and First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics,” the report says.

Pharmacies in the capital administered more than 472,000 doses, while hospital clinics administered almost 247,000 jabs. There were 11,569 doses administered at neighbourhood hubs, 52,295 via mobile and pop-up clinics, and 4,298 in after-school clinics. Primary care clinics administered more than 40,000 doses and 102,000 were delivered via ‘other channels’, according to the report.

Data published on OPH’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard show that 93 per cent of Ottawa residents five and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 89 per cent have had at least two. OPH says 63 per cent of residents 12 and older have had a booster.

The report says staff provided case and contact management for 37,286 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 last year, including reaching out to more than 80,000 close contacts. OPH also monitored 1,164 residents who were hospitalized because of COVID-19. The disease killed 228 residents last year, down from 381 in 2020.

“COVID-19 has shone a light on the health inequities in our community and we have shown that we can make an impact by working in partnership with community leaders and multi-sectoral partners and by building on the strengths in neighbourhoods and communities. In addition, the pandemic has underlined that our work can be most effective when focused where needs are greatest, while continuing to support the population as a whole,” said Dr. Vera Etches in a message in the report. “I am so proud of the team’s work in the stressful environment of the pandemic. I am proud of the professionalism that they have maintained in facing the challenges brought by COVID-19.”

The Ottawa Board of Health meets Monday at 5 p.m.

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