Speaking as one in a special appeal, after both an extension of existing restrictions and additional measures were announced last week by the government, the three principal response agencies say the Covid 19 incident rate locally in the South East in the first month of 2021 has been very worrying and remains a very serious concern.
In the current Level 5 of restrictions, everyone is being asked not just to adhere to the basics of prevention but also to stay at home – except for travel for work, education or to take exercise within five kilometres of home. The three principal response agencies say the cumulative total of lives lost in Ireland since the declaration of the pandemic in March of last year – sadly – continues to be reflected in the South East. They also pointed to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable in society and the pressure that has been placed on front line health services.
The HSE, the Gardai and the five local authorities, in thanking the general public for their efforts to date, are reminding everyone that individual actions do matter – including adherence to all of the public health restrictions.
Director of the HSE’s South East Public Health Dept. Dr. Carmel Mullaney, the Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare Kate Killeen White and the General Managers of the four acute hospitals in the region (Grace Rothwell at University Hospital Waterford; Linda O’ Leary at Wexford General Hospital; Anne Slattery at St. Luke’s General Hospital, Carlow/Kilkenny and Maria Barry at South Tipperary General Hospital) say the ongoing roll out of the Covid Vaccine and the slight reduction in figures evident this week provide some hope. However, they are anxious that older and vulnerable people are kept safe in the meantime, so that the Vaccine roll out has maximum effect and that the pandemic related demand on health services reduces to the benefit of other day to day services.
The five local authorities
The Mayor of Waterford City and County Council (Cllr. Damien Geoghegan) and the respective Cathaoirlaigh of Carlow (Cllr. Tom O’ Neill), Kilkenny (Cllr. Andrew McGuinness), Tipperary (Cllr. Michael Smith) and Wexford (Cllr. Ger Carthy) County Councils have been joined by their Chief Executives in each case – Kathleen Holohan (Carlow), Colette Byrne (Kilkenny), Joe MacGrath (Tipperary), Michael Walsh (Waterford City and County) and Tom Enright (Wexford) – in stating that a downturn in incidence of Covid 19 locally can be achieved through the continued determination of people to stay at home, to work from home where possible and to avoid meeting and socialising with others. It is imperative, the local authorities say, that everyone continues to strictly adhere to the public health advice to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this highly infectious disease.
The Garda Chief Superintendents in the South East – Padraig Dunne in Waterford and Kilkenny/Carlow, Derek Smart in Tipperary and Denis Ferry – said the co-operation of the public to remain within their five kilometre zones was crucial in this respect. Whilst their members will continue to operate check points, the Chief Superintendents said the Gardai echoed the appeals of the HSE and the five County Councils for people in those areas area to take personal responsibility to avoid situations that are a risk to themselves, their family and their friends.
The HSE, the Gardai, and the local authorities in Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford will be working hard to protect people with the aim in mind of getting to a better and safer place as a society and they are urging people to continue taking precautions in relation to transmissions of Covid-19, to adhere to restrictions, and practice “the basics”:
- Reduce your contacts with other people.
- Wear a mask.
- Keep your distance.
- Wash your hands.
- For what to do when you’re waiting for a test, when you get a result and when you need to isolate, please see: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/managing-coronavirus-at-home/self-isolating-and-restricting-movements-differences.html
- For up to date public health advice and a comprehensive range of other important information on Covid 19, please see https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus
- For further information from local authorities and their “Community Call” support services, see their respective websites.