“This Omicron variant is a game-changer.”
That from Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, during the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s bi-weekly COVID-19 media conference Thursday morning.
“We will have Omicron cases in our district and our case numbers will rise,” he says. “As a community, we must do everything we can to slow its spread and reduce Omicron’s impact. We were successful doing it before and we can do it again. It’ll take each and every one of us to do our part.”
He says no one wants to see more restrictions and the best way to avoid that is to act now.
Dr. Chirico says if things start to escalate around the province there has to be a central response and restrictions put in place at the provincial level.
However, he says they are contemplating restrictions and pretty much everything is on the table.
“Similar to what has occurred in other jurisdictions in Ontario, where you’re looking at capacity limits, you’re looking at businesses, you’re looking at potential with school-aged children being vaccinated depending on sports,” Dr. Chirico says.
He says if people follow public health guidelines and get vaccinated it’ll have a big impact on whether or not they have to put restrictions in place.
In terms of vaccinations, the health unit is pleased with the number of 5-11-year-olds coming out to their clinics but would like to see more.
“As of (Dec. 8) at 3 pm, 1652 individuals in the 5-11 year age range had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” says Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “This represents 19.5 percent of the 5-11-year-olds in our district. Compared to the province who is sitting at 23.6 percent of 5-11s who have received their first dose.”
Mantha also says changes to vaccine information are coming soon to their online dashboard to include the 5-11-year-old age group.