Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, says he is in favour of the current stay-at-home order being extended.

“Until we’re able to get everyone vaccinated, the only way to decrease the provincial numbers and the local numbers is for everyone to follow public health measures. This is why I support a continued shutdown,” Dr. Chirico said during the Health Unit’s weekly media conference.

The region’s top doctor points out that while provincial numbers appear to be declining, local numbers are on the rise with 27 cases reported over the past seven days. Chirico says it’s the highest case rate the area has seen since February.

There has been speculation that Ontario’s current lockdown, which has been in effect since early April, will be extended into June. Dr. Chirico says he’s in favour of this as he wants to see numbers go down everywhere.

“The quickest path to long-term reopening is not reopening too soon. Getting local and provincial numbers down will be the quickest path to reopening schools,” he noted. “Hang in there a little bit longer to make sure that this is our last shutdown.”

Dr. Chirico also urges people to make “COVID-19 safe” plans for the upcoming May long weekend.

“COVID-19 safe means to only gather with people from your own home, or if you live alone, only gather with your exclusive close contact home. By making the smart choices now, we can help prevent a shutdown over the summer,” he said.