Despite the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit being moved into the yellow-protect zone of the province’s framework, the region’s top doctor thinks there should be more restrictions. 

“I recognize this is not something people want to hear. But if we do not reopen slowly, we will see a spike in COVID-19 cases locally,” said Dr. Jim Chirico during a media briefing Thursday morning. 

Dr. Chirico stated last week that he would recommend the region remain in the red-control zone. However, the province moved the region into the less-restrictive yellow zone. 

“I can provide the recommendation, but it’s ultimately up to the government to make the final decision,” the medical officer said. 

“I am increasingly concerned about the state of the pandemic in our province, and specifically, in our region,” Dr. Chirico continued. “I also believe that there should be greater consistency across our neighbouring health unit districts in terms of levels of restrictions.”

As of Thursday morning, Public Health Sudbury and Districts is currently in the grey-lockdown zone of the framework with 316 active cases. Simcoe-Muskoka Health Unit in the red-control zone with 419 active cases

“When one health unit has significantly lower restrictions than another, it encourages people to come and visit. That increases the risk of virus spread,” Dr. Chirico said. 

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has reported 14 cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days.

Provincially, over 1,500 cases have been reported every day for the past week. Dr. Chirico noted Variant of Concern (VOC) cases make up 58 percent of the province’s cases, adding VOC’s are 50 to 70 percent more infectious. 

Dr. Chirico says based on surrounding districts, he would feel “much more comfortable” if the region was in the red-control zone.