“We’re almost at the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Those words from Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, during the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s final regularly scheduled media conference involving the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says as public restrictions are loosened, it’s up to individuals to assess their own risk when travelling or taking part in events or large gatherings.
“We’re transitioning, we’re learning to live with COVID,” he says. ”Does it eliminate risk completely? No. There is still circulating COVID, we’re still seeing some cases. The important thing is we’re not seeing significant hospital admissions that we can’t deal with.”
Dr. Chirico says easing of restrictions does increase the risk somewhat and only time will tell how it plays out.
“Some of the predictions are that because so many people are vaccinated and so many people have had Omicron that it has been very helpful and that we aren’t seeing serious diseases develop,” he says.
Dr. Chirico also encourages people to be ‘COVID-kind’ with those who may choose to continue to take precautions or wear a mask, or need to, whenever that restriction is eased.
Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer, says vaccination clinics are also evolving.
“We are in the process of shifting our vaccine strategy from mass clinics to more targeted approaches, including clinics in schools and locations that may have less access to the vaccine,” she says.
Appointments can be booked on the provincial website or by contacting the Health Unit’s call centre.
Walk-ins are also being accepted at all of their clinics across the district.
***With files from Richard Coffin