Working together to stop the spread of covid-19 – HSE, Local Authorities and Gardaí ask the people of Cork to redouble their efforts.
Statutory agencies have appealed to the people of Cork to re-double their efforts this weekend and beyond to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The regional inter-agency emergency management group said that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 have increased over the last seven days, and the city and county is now at a critical juncture.
The HSE, local authorities and an Garda Siochana have worked together since the start of the Covid-19 crisis to co-ordinate the community response, and this weekend they praised the people of Cork for everything they have done to keep communities safe.
Chair of the area HSE Crisis management team, Michael Fitzgerald, thanked the people of both counties for their huge work to date.
“Now, we need to ask you for your support yet again. We are concerned about the increased number of cases we are seeing in some areas, in particular cases which we know have spread in social settings. We are once again at a critical point. The actions we all take right now will dictate the spread of the virus over the coming weeks. The most important thing we can do is to keep our distance from each other, both by coming in contact with fewer people and maintaining at least two metres distance from others if we must see them.”
Acting Director of Public Health for the region, Dr Anne Sheahan, said that while there is evidence of some community transmission of the virus, many recent confirmed cases can be traced back to transmission within family groups and groups of friends.
“It is crucial that we all act right now to reduce the number of people we come into contact with. I appreciate that this is a big ask of people, but the alternative is that we see a continued rise in the number of cases.”
“Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible to spread the disease even if you don’t have symptoms and are feeling well. That means it’s possible that you can pick up the virus from a friend while socialising – and then pass it on to another more vulnerable family member or friend without knowing.”
Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO, South / South West Hospital Group said:
“All hospital based health care workers are urging members of the public to continue to abide by the guidelines regarding Covid-19. Across the S/SWHG, hospital staff are working tirelessly to fight this virus to provide safe, high-quality care to patients. The S/SWHG is very proud of our dedicated staff and how they have responded to this challenge. The perseverance which staff across the Group have shown and their on-going commitment to providing the best possible care is greatly appreciated. Not adhering to the national guidelines will inevitably place extra pressure on the hospital system.
The group asked the public to continue to adhere to all Government advice and restrictions, and also to:
Dr Anne Sheahan added that one of the most important things we can all do is keep an eye out for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss or change to sense of taste), then take immediate action.
“Isolate yourself from others and phone your GP for advice - remember that a referral and test for COVID are free and you do not have to be registered with a GP,” she said.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh is urging the public to remain vigilant in their efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, saying
“The people of Cork have shown tremendous resilience in the face of the challenges that Covid 19 has presented us with. As cases of the virus are rising, we now need to double down on our efforts to help protect those who are most vulnerable in our community.
Cork City Council this week announced its blue vest initiative which aims to support vulnerable people. 1,000 social distancing blue vests are being distributed to community groups to go to people with underlying conditions and those cocooning so that they can feel safe leaving their home whilst also reminding others to keep their two-metre distance.
It is very clear that we need to pay extra attention to keeping our distance, reducing our contacts, washing our hands frequently, wearing a face covering and avoiding crowds. For ourselves and for those we love and care for, please hold firm.”
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley reminds everyone of the importance of upholding their efforts to protect one another.
"Due to the continuation of the Covid 19 crisis it is understandable that we are all experiencing a certain level of fatigue, but we must remain vigilant. We are still in this together and must continue to protect our most vulnerable. Cork County Council’s Community Call Helpline remains available for anyone who needs practical support and in conjunction with Cork County Older Peoples Council, we remind everyone of our CARE message, that is to Consider, Assist, Respect and Empathise with our older and more vulnerable citizens. They are our family members, our neighbours and our friends, we must hold firm for their sakes."
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said "In supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines, An Garda Síochána has always maintained a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. It remains vital that you continue to play your part by limiting contact with others- this will save lives."