Press Conferences


Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, are committed to keeping you informed on the latest developments, plans and decisions on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Weekly press conferences are held with the media on Thursday mornings, and the discussions are posted here and on social media Thursday afternoons for public viewing. Questions that are asked by the media but not able to be answered in the video discussion (due to time limit) are answered below each video.

April 22, 2021

April 15, 2021

April 8, 2021

We've been asked if residents can travel to their cabins or campers that are in the district during this 4 week shutdown?

The province in currently under a Stay-at-Home order. Individuals should not leave their residence unless for essential reasons, such as attending work or school. The order states that if individuals have a second dwelling, they may attend the residence for a period of less than 24 hours and only for one of the reasons listed in the order. For more information, please visit

April 1, 2021

March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021 Press Conference Q&A Not Able to be Answered Due to Time

What percentage of our district has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

As of 2 p.m. on March 26, 2021, 12.4% of adult residents have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

March 18, 2021

March 11, 2021

Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, with panelists from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit: 

  • Dr. Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician
  • Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer 
  • Scott Thibodeau, COVID-19 Vaccine Public Health Nurse Lead

All media questions submitted live during this press conference were answered. 

March 8, 2021 

Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, with panelists from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit: 

  • Dr. Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician
  • Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer 
  • Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization Strategy

Correction: Please note the number of confirmed Variants of Concern originating from the UK in our district at the time of the press conference was two, not 10.

March 8, 2021 Press Conference Q&A Not Able to be Answered Due to Time

Where are we in Phase One? When do you expect to open the gardens for mass vaccinations?

 The Health Unit is currently working through the priorities in phase 1 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan:
  • Long-term care home residents, staff and essential caregivers (will be complete end of day March 11);
  • Retirement home residents, staff and essential caregivers (will be complete by end of day March 13);
  • This week, First Nations are beginning to receive vaccine for their communities;
  • Clinics are being planned for the highest and very high community health care providers;
  • Highest priority and very high priority hospital health care worker immunizations have begun and will continue following the Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COIVID-19 Vaccination;
  • Clinics for adults 80+ are currently being planned for implementation in the next couple of weeks;
  • Adult recipients of chronic home care – discussions are underway with the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to determine how to reach this population.

A mass clinic format will be used for targeted populations such as seniors and health care providers.

When do you suspect everyone who wants a vaccine will get one in North Bay Parry Sound? Can you unveil the sites for rollout in the region?

Provided vaccine supply continues to be received, the Health Unit should meet the June 30 target announced by the Ontario government, for everyone in the district to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Larger clinics will be held in the following locations:

  • North Bay – Memorial Gardens
  • Parry Sound - Bobby Orr Community Centre
  • Sundridge – Sundridge, Strong Joly Arena
  • Mattawa – Mattawa Community Centre
  • West Nipissing – West Nipissing Arena or Community Centre depending on the anticipated volume of individuals who will attend the clinics

Depending on the target population and the demographic information available, smaller clinics in other communities may also be provided.

Can you please provide a breakdown of vaccinations and vaccination goals per district, Parry Sound and Nipissing number separately?

Vaccine will be allocated based on the group that is being offered vaccines, as per the Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan. The Health Unit’s goal is that all residents who wish to be vaccinated will be able to access vaccine as part of the priority group they fall into and vaccine supply will be provided to each area of our district to meet this requirement.

What is the capacity of our hospitals (specifically in West Parry Sound) for COVID-19 patients?

 For information on specific hospital capacity, please connect with the health care centre directly. 

With the move to red, what are the guidelines for visiting other households, such as our parents who live in their own home?

Indoors or outdoors, everyone should limit close contact to those in your household (people you live with) and stay at least 2 metres apart from everyone else. The provincial framework limits all organized public events and social gatherings to five (5) people indoors. Outdoor gatherings allow for up to 25 people.

Treat everyone outside your household as if they may have COVID-19 and don’t visit other households or allow visitors in your home. For mental health and safety reasons, the Health Unit recognizes that it is important that if you live alone, you can have close contact with one other household.

Every local leader continues to say that we need more vaccines. How does Dr. Chirico rate the federal government's vaccine rollout on a scale from 1-10 considering the U.S. continues its vaccinations at a rapid rate?

I do not believe it is helpful to be critical of others. Moving forward, we all have to work together and focus on limiting the spread of the COVID-19 Variants of Concern and immunizing as many people as possible as soon as possible. These are public health’s main priorities.

Can you comment on the Memorial Gardens arena as a vaccination venue and how much of a challenge will it be for seniors with mobility issues?  

Memorial Gardens is a central location that is accessible by bus. The immunizations will be completed on the first level of the gardens on the rink floor. Ramps are being put in place to ensure access to the floor without a step up. Discussions are underway looking at some adaptations that may be required to provide an area for those who are unable to access the arena floor and ensure that is in place.


Looking for some clarification on this morning's COVID-19 update at Skyline Lancelot Apartments. The number of confirmed variants increased over the weekend by four to 21, but the number of preliminary positives that have yet to be genotyped went down by three to nine. Should the number of preliminary positives outstanding have gone down to eight?

Since Friday (March 5), four individuals with a previously reported preliminary positive result for a Variant of Concern (VOC) were confirmed to have a variant originating in South Africa. Additionally, another individual associated with the Skyline – Lancelot Apartments outbreak received a preliminary positive test result for a VOC over the weekend. As a result, the preliminary VOCs associated with Lancelot decreased by 4 (as 4 were added to the South African count) and then increased by 1 (with the new preliminary positive VOC test result).


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