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COVID response costs Ottawa Public Health an extra $77 million in 2022

Ottawa Public Health says all children will receive a sticker after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at community clinics. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa Public Health says all children will receive a sticker after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at community clinics. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa Public Health is expecting to spend an additional $77 million this year, as staff continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and administer vaccines.

A report for Monday's Board of Health meeting says the Omicron wave in the winter required the "maximum response capacity to date" for outbreak management, case management and delivery of booster doses.

Staff say while OPH has been reducing resources spent on the COVID-19 response over the first half of the year, the health unit is projecting $77 million of additional spending in its 2022 budget.

Ottawa Public Health began reducing operations in areas such as case management, outbreak management, and other back office/shared services through the winter and spring, and staff say operations were further reduced in July due to the decrease of severe COVID-19 in the community.

The release of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine this fall will require continued staffing resources and expenditures, according to the health unit.

"OPH's revised projected total expenditures are $38M for the COVID-19 General Program and $40M for the COVID-19 Vaccine Program," the report says.

Ottawa Public Health says the Ministry of Health has provided all health units with an assurance that there will be a process to request reimbursement of 2022 COVID-19 Extraordinary Costs, and the budget is expected to be balanced at the end of the year.

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