Health Unit addresses province’s outdoor recreation closures
Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. (Photo screenshot via North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, YouTube)
There’s no sense in dwelling in the past when it comes to the latest round of provincial restrictions.
That was the message from Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit during Thursday’s weekly media conference.
In his first conference since Premier Ford’s announcement of enhanced restrictions, which included the closure of most outdoor recreation, Dr. Chirico said it’s not the time to get caught up in the politics.
“Whether people agree with certain decisions that are made or not, now is not the time I think to be dwelling in the past but really look forward to the future and what we can do to change things. We have to use good judgement,” Dr. Chirico said.
The Health Unit has recorded seven cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days despite other parts of the province seeing higher case numbers during the third wave. The region currently has the lowest cumulative rate of cases per 100,000 people in the province, Dr. Chirico confirmed.
The Medical Officer was asked whether he agrees with the closure of most outdoor recreation, including sports like tennis and golf, especially as such closures were not recommended by the province’s Science Advisory Table.
“It’s not the activity itself that’s the issue. It’s everything that’s around it. It can be controlled. You can have situations where you’re reducing the risk and if the public health measures are being followed…[golf] can be a very safe sport to take part in,” Dr. Chirico explained. “But when it gets abused and people aren’t following what they’re supposed to be doing, it puts everybody at risk. And that’s the problem, not so much the activity itself.”
Dr. Chirico says getting outside and exercising is still important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, but should be done by following health protocols. These include physical distancing and wearing face masks.