Inaugural meeting of Municipal COVID Coordination Committee to enhance local strategies
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Recognizing a heightened need for local coordination, several local agencies met on March 13th, for the inaugural meeting of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout’s, Municipal COVID Coordination Committee (MCCC).
Municipal Clerk Brian P. MacKinnon shared that the goal of this committee is to provide information that helps the community to understand, and be reassured, that there are a large number of organizations and agencies that are working together to support all activities and initiatives to address the pandemic.
“The Committee has identified priority groups that may not fit into the Provincial framework for vaccine distribution, to ensure that vulnerable persons and those who work with and support them have access to the vaccine in a timely basis to protect their health, and to help reduce the spread of the virus,” shared MacKinnon.
The Committee currently meets on a weekly basis to share information, provide updates, troubleshoot issues and identify resources to assist in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. MacKinnon shared that representatives from organizations and agencies that participated in the first meeting were the Municipality, Northwestern Health Unit, Kenora District Services Board, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Tribal Councils, Ontario Provincial Police, Out of the Cold Shelter, First Step Women’s Shelter, Community Living, Friendship Centre and Red Cross, among others.
Some topics discussed in the first meeting included vaccination rollout, volunteers, isolation capacity, staffing resources, communications, and frequency of MCCC meetings, shared Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance in his From the Mayor’s Desk column in The Bulletin’s March 16 edition. “There was a high level of cooperation at the meeting with a common goal of doing all we can to help protect our community from the spread of the coronavirus.” Lawrance added in his column that that the rollout of vaccinations would be stepped up in the coming weeks in Sioux Lookout.
“The Committee is open to other organizations who believe they may benefit from participating on the Committee,” MacKinnon shared. Those interested to join may reach out to the Municipality. The Committee is also proactively exploring additional resources to support the community and to facilitate the best possible local response to the pandemic stated the Mayor’s submission. It added, “Residents should rest, assured that we are able to handle the caseload at the present time.”
MacKinnon shared that the general consensus among the participating members of the Committee is that the meetings are worthwhile, they help identify areas of concern, obstacles and issues, as well as possible resources and solutions, and they also agree that providing updates to the community on the vaccine rollout and related matters is of critical importance.
Lawrance’s column shared, “It is very clear that vaccinations are key and that as soon as your turn for vaccination comes around, we strongly encourage you to take it and get vaccinated. Even if you don’t feel threatened by coronavirus, you may be a threat to others if you do not get it.”
“Perhaps the best protection that each and every one of us can provide to others is through kindness, understanding, and empathy. We will get through this pandemic by abiding by Public Health guidelines and directions, by treating each other with respect, and by getting vaccinated when our turn comes,” the mayor’s submission concluded.