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Vaccination numbers continue to climb so when will health protocols be lifted?

'That is the million dollar question'
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Dr. Jim Chirico. File photo courtesy Chris Dawson/BayToday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly proved to be unpredictable in all corners of the planet.  

So it comes as no surprise that the Chief Medical Officer at the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit cannot give area residents a timeline when health protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing measures will be lifted and life will feel like we are back to normal again. 

"That is the million dollar question," stated Chirico during Thursday's online media conference.  

"I don't have a good answer for you. We don't know and that is the bottom line.

"It is really too early to say when those measures can be relaxed because they are certainly dependent on many factors such as the circulating variants or how quickly and transmissible it is spreading as well as vaccine effectiveness."

Chirico says they still have to determine what herd immunity is and how many people are immune because of getting infections or having vaccinations.

"There are a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration," noted Chirico.  

"How severe is the illness that is being produced through these variants. I wish I had an answer for you. It is yet to be determined." 

Chirico notes they will follow the guidance of the public health table and the experts.

"They will let us know when these measures can be lifted," he said.  

The Health Unit announced Thursday that the region has hit 70 per cent of at least one dose and 8 per cent 18 and above have had their second dose. 

The 12 to 17 age category vaccine numbers are increasing as well with 24 per cent of youth in that age group have had at least one shot.  

By 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the Health Unit has provided 82,729 vaccinations in the district.  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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