NORTH BAY -- The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is calling for safety to be top of mind as the province begins to reopen Friday.

Medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico addressed the province’s reopening plan during the health unit’s weekly press conference Thursday morning. Chirico is asking everyone to remain vigilant and said people need to keep following public health measures.

“There are some very positive indicators within the province and within our district, and with the case numbers coming down and that’s all very, very encouraging,” he said. “But, we also have to really think about and use very good judgment. The variants are still there.”

The health unit estimates 70 per cent of people living in the district have received their first dose. Eight per cent of people aged 18 or older have received their second dose of the vaccine.

In the last week, the health unit reported 17 new cases in the entire district. Two people remain in hospital with the virus. The health unit is launching a COVID-19 Guide to Summer Activities page on its website. The page is designed to help individuals navigate through provincial restrictions during the three steps of reopening while enjoying their favourite summer activities safer.

“We’ve all shown tremendous effort over the last six months to limit the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has had to make sacrifices, including staying home, getting vaccinated, and following public health measures,” said Chirico.

“I continue to encourage people to use their best judgment and be cautious in all activities, and to use this guide as a tool to help keep yourself and your loved ones safer.”

The page will be updated to reflect the changing provincial restrictions, including gathering size limits both indoor and outdoor.