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.
It is anticipated that future waves of COVID-19 infections and sequelae of prior infections will continue to strain primary care resources in Ontario. This Brief, the final part of a 3-part series, consolidates five lessons learned to date based on the evidence presented in parts 1 and 2 of this Science Brief: Lesson 1: Care provided in formal attachment relationships and through team-based models provides superior support for COVID-19- and non-COVID-19-health issues in the community. Lesson 2: In the absence of additional resources, COVID-19 response results in tradeoffs and unmet needs in other areas. Lesson 3: Innovative models and new partnerships supported patients, particularly those from equity-deserving groups, to get needed care, but infrastructure is needed for sustainability, spread, and scale. Lesson 4: The absence of an integrated and inclusive data system compromised the pandemic response in primary care. Lesson 5: Primary care can leverage its longitudinal relationships to improve population health and health system sustainability. Heeding these five lessons would strengthen and support the primary care sector in Ontario to meet expected challenges in pandemic response and recovery.