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Dr. Chirico talks 'light at the end of the tunnel' for pandemic

'Restrictions are being loosened, cases are on the decline, and we are learning how to live with COVID-19'
2022 02 03 Health Unit Winter Night (Campaigne)
The Oak Street West offices of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit

Dr. Jim Chirico led the most recent North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit media availability with some promising pandemic news: Thursday's event would be the final recurring COVID-19 press conference.

"We'll be transitioning away from these scheduled press conferences but this is not 'goodbye.' The Health Unit and I will still be available to answer any COVID-19 inquiries," said the local medical officer of health.

"We're almost at the light at the end of the tunnel," Chirico noted, "so let's continue to work together to see this through."

Despite ending the weekly or bi-weekly press conferences, Chirico reminded the public the Health Unit's online status report will continue to be updated weekdays at 3 p.m. The Health Unit’s COVID-19 call centre remains available for public inquiries Monday to Friday at 1-844-478-1400.

Chirico added, "Restrictions are being loosened, cases are on the decline, and we are learning how to live with COVID-19."

See related: You're COVID-19 positive, here's what to do following your five-day isolation period

He encouraged members of the public to continue to follow the remaining public health measures, such as wearing a face covering, when required.

"It's always good advice to wash and sanitize your hands often," he added, "and stay home if you are feeling unwell."

The Health Unit has consistently stressed the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines over the course of the pandemic and Chirico said it will continue to provide opportunities for people to get vaccinated.

"The pandemic isn't over yet," Chirico advised. "Vaccination remains our best protection to ensure the impact of the pandemic continues to fade and that future variants have minimal impact in terms of illness or public health measures required." 

"Press conferences have allowed us to have an open dialogue through the media," observed Chirico and have been "vital to ensuring that the public stays up to date and has the answers to make informed decisions."

He later added, "Should the situation change significantly and information needs to be shared, then we will return to press conferences, as required, and on a regular basis, if needed."

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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