The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table is a group of scientific experts and health system leaders who evaluate and report on emerging evidence relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, to inform Ontario’s response. The Science Advisory Table’s mandate is to provide summaries of relevant scientific evidence to public health and health care professionals, as well as the general public, by integrating information from existing scientific tables, Ontario’s universities and agencies, and the best global evidence. The Science Advisory Table is hosted by Public Health Ontario (PHO). Aligned with PHO’s mandate, the Science Advisory Table provides credible and independent scientific and technical advice to inform government and the broader public about COVID-19 and to help prepare for and respond to future public health emergencies.
Primary care is a critical entry point into both COVID-19- and non-COVID-19-related care in Ontario. Primary care clinicians (PCCs) played an integral and multi-faceted role in Ontario’s pandemic response. This included a rapid transition to virtual care; participating in testing, treatment, and wraparound services for COVID-19; providing education and support to local communities to increase vaccine uptake; and more recently, catching up with non-COVID care despite fixed resources. COVID-19 care is increasingly being integrated into primary care practices but without added resources or supports. At the same time, PCCs are supporting patients who experienced missed or delayed care through the pandemic. Practices funded to include interprofessional teams have inherently had more flexibility to support both the pandemic response and catch-up of non-COVID-19 care.