North Bay Parry Sound district to stay in the red zone

·3 min read

North Bay, Parry Sound will remain in the red zone for now due to the upward trend of COVID-19 variants of concern, according to chief medical officer Jim Chirico.

At the weekly health unit press conference on March 18, Chirico said that while the district numbers are under control, he anticipates that the region will remain within the control phase of the provincial framework.

Here are five quotes from the press conference on the topic of remaining in the red zone, COVID-19 variants of concern and Chirico’s optimism for less restrictions in the summer months.

1. “As I’ve mentioned before, we need to be mindful of increasing numbers throughout the province particularly a sharp increase in cases from variants of concern as well as the status of the pandemic in neighbouring jurisdictions. I’m hopeful that we will continue to do well and see a slow return to normal but we’re not there yet,” said Chirico.

2. “Since testing for variants of concern began, 36 of our cases have screened positive for variants of concern. We currently have three active cases all of which are in the Nipissing district and none of which are in hospital,” said Dr. Carol Zimbalatti.

3. “Locally we have not entered the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, however what happens going forward is almost entirely in our control … I’ve said this before, we are not an island and we have to consider the COVID-19 situations around us,” said Chirico.

4. "The quickest path to a sustained long-term opening is not opening too early and there are too many indicators right now that are suggesting that we’re trending upwards – we’re not trending downwards so we have to be very cautious because what we don’t want to have happen is that we open up and then have to close down,” said Chirico.

5. “If we can hold off a little bit longer and ride out this third wave even though it’s not in our district right now, if we can do that – if we can slow the curve just like we were able to do in the first wave … I’m very optimistic if we do that and we don’t see the cases climb we’ll be able to move through the framework down to where there’s far less restrictions and we can look forward to having a summer where kids will be able to (play sports). I’m optimistic but it’s really going to be dependent on how much we work together to slow the spread, especially the variants of concern which are taking over,” said Chirico.

The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit holds weekly press conferences every Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and the next conference will take place on March 25.

Sarah Cooke is a Local Journalism Reporter with the Parry Sound North Star, and Almaguin News. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada

Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com