October 25,

Honouring Healthcare Worker Flu Shot Champions

October 21, 2014 - Overall Healthcare Worker Average Vaccination Rate at Local Long-Term Care Homes is 81%

WP_20141021_11_18_27_ProToday the Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Pellizzari commended local healthcare workers for receiving provincial recognition for keeping patients safe by achieving strong influenza immunization rates last year at their facilities.

“We are very proud of the efforts of these eight healthcare facilities that caught the attention of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health for their success in increasing staff influenza immunization rates last year,” said Dr. Pellizzari.  “Creating a ring of immunity around our most vulnerable residents is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the flu in healthcare settings, and in the community as well.”

Every year the Health Unit is required to submit the healthcare worker influenza vaccination rates of long-term care homes and hospitals to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  The Health Unit organized a small celebration to honour representatives from each of the following eight healthcare facilities for achieving a 5% one-year increase, or an overall staff influenza vaccination rate of 80%, or both:

Healthcare facilities with a 5% increase in their overall staff influenza immunization rate for the 2013-14 season:

  • Fairhaven Home
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre

Healthcare facilities that achieved an overall staff influenza immunization rate of 80% for the 2013-14 season:

  • Centennial Place
  • St. Joseph’s at Fleming

Healthcare facilities with both a 5% annual increase and an overall staff influenza immunization rate of 80% for the 2013/14 season:

  • Extendicare Lakefield
  • Extendicare Peterborough
  • Pleasant Meadow Manor
  • Riverview Manor

Dr. Pellizzari noted thanks to strong local efforts such as those undertaken by these organizations, the average healthcare worker immunization rate at long-term care homes last year was 81%, well above the provincial median of 78%.  

This year’s flu vaccine has already been distributed to healthcare workers to protect those at high-risk, and will be available publicly through pharmacies and family healthcare providers starting October 23.




For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391


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Backgrounder: Mental Health Landscape of Peterborough

October 16, 2014 – Mental health issues are a growing concern in our community.  In 2013, there were over 3,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits at PRHC related to mental health disorders and this number has been on the rise since 2009.  In fact, over the past decade the average number of ED visits related to mental health disorders is equal to the number of ED visits related to diseases of the circulatory system (ie. heart attacks and strokes).  It is estimated that one in five people in Canada experience a mental health problem or illness every year (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2011), with a cost to the economy of well over $50 billion.  Based on Peterborough’s current population, this translates to roughly 27,000 local residents who will suffer some sort of mental illness every year.

In order to have a healthy community, the residents of Peterborough need access to safe, affordable housing while their basic needs are being met, including access to nutritious food, adequate health care, and appropriate supports.  As we continue to strive for this as a community, challenges arise that lead some people to experience issues impacting their mental health.  Supportive services in Peterborough play a fundamental role in livelihood, overall health outcomes, and success of people experiencing mental illness.  These services, with a focus on mental health and addictions support and recovery, have seen significant increases in the number of people served over the past few years.  For example, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Canadian Mental Health Association branch saw an increase in the total number of people who have received their services from 3,459 in 2012/13 to 4,337 in 2013/14.  FourCAST Addiction Services saw nearly 3,000 more people walk through their front doors in the 2013/2014 year than the previous year.  Community Counselling and Resource Centre states that all of its service users have a mental health issue even though it is not always the main presenting concern, and they accepted 957 new clients in 2013.  Lastly, in a recent interview with staff of the New Canadian Centre, it was shared that mental health is a prominent concern with most of the families they see.

On the topic of mental health supports in Peterborough, it is also important to mention The Warming Room, a successful drop-in program that ran this past winter as a means to provide shelter for individuals who were unable to access the already existing shelters in the City.  One of the most significant challenges the program faced was a lack of mental health support for its guests.  The Warming Room Annual Report (May, 2014) states that “the level of mental illness at the Warming Room was incredibly high”.  As a result, one of the recommendations made was for a more integrated system of care, highlighting particular attention to the availability of on-site mental health supports.

It is also essential to consider the stigma associated with mental illness as this directly influences access to, and quality of care   According to the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (2012), 46% of Canadians think that people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour; 27% of Canadians said they would be fearful of being around someone with a serious mental illness; and only 42% said they would socialize with a friend who had a serious mental illness.  We also know that 49% of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem (CMHA, 2014).  It is important to consider the added cost to society when a high number of people go undiagnosed as a result of the associated stigma.  For example, many employees are reluctant to disclose a mental illness due to stigma which means they report to work but may not be as productive as they could be with the proper supports and care in place.  This is a huge cost to society overall.

It has been proposed that a local, community-wide Mental Health Planning Table be formed to address issues related to the prevention and reduction of stigma associated with mental health.


  • § How could municipalities support more coordinated planning around mental health in our communities?  If a Mental Health Planning Table is created, what should its priorities be (ie. school programs, community campaigns, recommendations on supportive housing, etc…)?
  • § How could municipalities work to reduce stigma associated with mental health and addiction issues?


Bradley, L. (2010). The need for transforming the mental health care system in Canada:

Implications for healthy workplace stakeholders. Presentation at the Healthy Minds Matter: Taking Action Workplace Health Symposium: Toronto, Ontario.

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2010a). Fast Facts: mental health/mental illness.

Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/bins/print_page.asp?cid=6-20-23-43&lang=1

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2014). Fast Facts About Mental Illness.  Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.VAdpMPldVe8.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2010c). Mental health and addiction statistics.

Retrieved from: http://www.camh.net/News_events/Key_CAMH_facts_for_media/addictionmentalhealthstatistics.html

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2012). Statistics on Mental Illness and Addictions.  Retrieved from http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/newsroom/for_reporters/Pages/addictionmentalhealthstatistics.aspx.

Fourcast. (2013). Four Counties Addiction Services Team Annual Report – 2013.  Retrieved from http://www.fourcast.ca/wp-content/uploads/Fourcast-AR-2013-FINAL.pdf.

Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2011). The Life and Economic Impact of Major Mental Illnesses in Canada.  Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/system/files/private/document/MHCC_Report_Base_Case_FINAL_ENG_0.pdf.

Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2012). The Facts. Retrieved from http://strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca/the-facts/

Peterborough County-City Health Unit (2010). Community assessment report 2010: Prepared for the purposes of Healthy Communities. Peterborough, ON: Author.



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Let’s Make Health a Priority This Election

October 16, 2014 - Health Unit Launches Public Health Primer for Voters

Screen Shot 10-16-14 at 10.29 AMToday the Peterborough County-City Health Unit launched a new document entitled “Let’s Make Health a Priority” to help voters understand how municipal policies affect public health.

“Municipalities pay for 25% of all public health spending, so they can have a big impact on important issues such as poverty, healthy built environments and food security,” said Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Medical Officer of Health.  “We hope this election primer will give voters a tool they can use when discussing public health issues with municipal candidates.”

The four-page document highlights eight priorities where municipal policies play a key role in public health. These are:

  • Food security
  • Poverty
  • Alcohol policies
  • Water fluoridation
  • Food access
  • Housing
  • Air Quality
  • Active Transportation

Dr. Pellizzari noted that every municipal candidate in Peterborough City and County has received a copy of the primer via email.

Decisions made by municipal governments impact all aspects of residents’ lives.  Active communities, a clean environment, and ensuring health for all people regardless of background or income level are key considerations in municipal decision-making.

Copies of the primer are available on the Health Unit’s website www.pcchu.ca or by contacting the Health Unit at 705-743-1000 or info@pcchu.ca .





For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391

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Wishing You a Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving Dinner!

October 10, 2014 - Ensure Proper Food Handling to Prevent Illness

The Peterborough County-City Health Unit would like you to enjoy a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. 

One way to ensure this is through safe food handling methods.  In general, the most popular choice for a Thanksgiving dinner is turkey.  “Poultry can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Inspection Programs at the Health Unit.  “If handled carelessly or cooked inadequately these bacteria can cause illness, but by following safe food handling guidelines, you can help ensure that you, your family, and your guests remain healthy.”

When shopping for poultry, check the temperature of the refrigerator in the grocery store to ensure that the product you are buying has been stored at the proper temperature.  All refrigeration units are required to have a working thermometer inside them.  The proper refrigeration temperature is 4°C (40°F) or colder and freezers should be maintained below -18°C (0°F).  Avoid buying damaged packages, frost covered packages, dry or discolored food, or packages that feel too warm.

Your home refrigerator should also be kept at these temperatures.  Monitor the temperature of your fridge or freezer using an appliance thermometer, available at most hardware or restaurant supply stores.

When you get home from the store, place your turkey in a pan or container which will keep meat juices from dripping or spilling.  Store your turkey on the lowest shelf of the fridge to prevent bacteria from contaminating other foods or surfaces.

The safest way to thaw poultry is in the refrigerator or under cold running water (allow one hour per pound).  In the case of a large turkey, allow several days in the fridge to thaw – five hours per pound is a good rule of thumb.

Prepare raw poultry on non-porous surfaces which are easier to clean and sanitize.  Thoroughly wash and sanitize any utensils, cutting boards or counter surfaces that raw meat touches.  Sanitize by using a solution of 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of household bleach with 1 litre (4 cups) of water.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling any food and after handling raw meats.

It takes thorough cooking to kill harmful bacteria and prevent food poisoning.  Cook the poultry to an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F).  Use a probe thermometer and check the temperature of the thickest part, usually the thigh or breast away from the bone.  A turkey will reach a safe internal cooking temperature faster if it is not stuffed. 

Cook the stuffing in a separate dish, ensuring that the stuffing also reaches a temperature of 74°C (165°F).  If the turkey is to be stuffed, it should be done just prior to cooking, not the night before. 

Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.  Carve the meat off of the bones before storing cooked poultry.  Refrigerate or freeze meat and stuffing separately and in small quantities so that they will cool quickly.

Reheat meat and stuffing rapidly to at least 74°C (165°F) and serve.  Do not reheat leftovers more than once.




For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391


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Is Your Workplace Psychologically Healthy?

October 9, 2014 -  October 29 Workshop Helps Employers Comply with National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

Screen Shot 10-09-14 at 08.35 AMThe Peterborough Health at Work Committee and the Peterborough Chapter of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), are jointly hosting the “Guarding Minds at Work” workshop on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

“There are 13 psychosocial factors known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of individual employees, and the financial bottom line,” said Monique Beneteau, Health Promoter at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, one of the committee partners. “More than one-third of disability claims and 70% of disability costs are related to mental health and every workplace is feeling the effects of this.  Taking a proactive approach to prevent mental injuries and promote mental health will not only contribute to a workplace’s success but helps improve mental health in the community as well.”

Scientific evidence shows that when businesses adopt policies and programs to address psychological health and safety, they incur between 15% to 33% fewer costs.  Legal standards increasingly require employers to develop comprehensive strategies for ensuring a psychologically safe workplace. In 2013, the Canadian Standards Association released Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, a voluntary standard intended to provide systematic guidelines for Canadian employers enabling them to develop and continuously improve psychologically safe and healthy work environments for their employees.

Featuring expert facilitator Andrew Harkness, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, this workshop is the third collaboration between HRPA’s Peterborough Chapter and the Peterborough Health at Work Committee.  The goal of this session is to introduce participants to the Guarding Minds @ Work website—a free, practical, evidence-based resource that will provide employers with the tools to support compliance with CSA Z1003 Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (PHSW) Standard. 

The workshop takes place on Wednesday, October 29 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Best Western Otonabee Inn, Peterborough.  Breakfast is included. Registration fee is $40 and the workshop is limited to 50 participants. To register and for more details, visit www.healthatworkpeterborough.ca or http://www.hrpa.ca/HRPAChapterSites/Peterborough/Pages/Default.aspx

Registration closes October 22.

For further information, please contact:


Monique Beneteau                                                      Katherine Jordan

Health Promoter                                                            Program Director

Workplace Health Program                                         Human Resources Professionals Association

Peterborough County-City Health Unit                     Peterborough Chapter

(705) 743-1000, ext. 309                               (705) 748-6687, ext. 1033


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