Mark Clairmont |

TORONTO Parry Sound and Muskoka were once part of the same health unit.

Now it’s up to its MPP to speak up for the riding on two separate fronts after separation sent one half of residents north, the other half south.

This morning in the provincial legislature Norman Miller urged the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to provide residents with more information regarding the need for the extended stay-at-home order.

“I rise today to give voice to the frustrations I am hearing from business owners, residents and municipal officials across the District of Parry Sound over the lack of local communication about remaining in the stay-at-home order,” Miller said in release this afternoon.

Miller — who has offered token arguments for severing Muskoka from Simcoe for COVID purposes — says he had previously written to the North Bay Parry Sound District Public Health Unit chief medical officer Dr. Jim Chirico asking that he explain the reasons behind his decisions and recommendations.

A backlash by some in North Bay about returning to lockdown has divided he community and health unit even as variant cases climbed there.

Miller admitted today that the health unit had reopened some activities, saying: “I do want to thank the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit for opening up outdoor activities like snowmobiling, skating and tobogganing. I am pleased the health unit listened to the community and reconsidered the order to shut down those activities.”

But, he added:  “I ask that they once again listen to the community and respond to their calls for more information.”

Chirico responded in a virtual news conference today where he offered further information.

Miller noted this is the second news conference the doctor has done in the past week and the MPP says he encourages him to continue to hold these on a regular basis to keep residents informed of the situation.

“While the closures are difficult and frustrating,” Miller says in the release, he asked that people abide by the public health measures in an effort to control further spread of the COVID-19 variants which have been found in Parry Sound District.

More information on the health unit can be found at

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