Cork GPs have emphasised that general practice will remain open for both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 concerns during the Level Five restrictions that will come into effect at midnight on Wednesday.
The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has urged the public to comply with with Level Five restrictions and to self-isolate at home if they have any Covid-19 symptoms or if they are awaiting a test or test results.
They have also advised people who are deemed to be close contacts to stay home, even if they exhibit no symptoms, and restrict their movements for 14 days.
The ICGP’s Clinical Lead for COVID-19, Dr Nuala O’Connor, said “The Government has put new restrictions in place, but it is everyone’s personal responsibility to stop this virus spreading and putting vulnerable people at risk,” said Cork GP and the ICGP’s clinical lead for Covid-19, Dr Nuala O’Connor.
“We support the Government’s decision to move to Level Five.
“We are urging the public to please abide by the rules regarding self-isolation and close contacts,” she added.
“Those with symptoms of Covid-19 or who have been tested positive must self-isolate for 10 days since first developed symptoms.
“Close contacts of confirmed cases who test positive must self-isolate for 10 days even if they have no symptoms.
“Close contacts who have a negative test result must restrict movements for 14 days.
“We know it may be difficult for some people to self-isolate at home,” explained Dr O’Connor.
“But this is essential if we are to stop this virus spreading even more.
“We want to be able to return to a less restricted world but that can’t happen unless everyone respects this very contagious virus.” The ICGP explained that self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This includes people you live with. If you live with other people, you must stay in your own room with a window open if possible. It means no sharing of kitchen utensils or bathroom equipment, and if possible using a separate bathroom.
The ICGP explained there has been a significant increase in workload in GP surgeries this autumn compared to previous years, coming on the back of an exceptionally busy summer, due to Covid-19 test referrals and backlogs in appointments for non-COVID-19 illnesses.
Cork GP and ICGP Covid-19 adviser, Dr Mary Favier, said:
“The provision of flu vaccines this winter has caused a lot of anxiety in people, and staff in GP surgeries are increasingly experiencing anger and impatience from members of the public.
“GPs are asking people to please be patient.
“We ask that people waiting for flu vaccines must appreciate that there has been a delay and shortage of flu vaccines,” she added.
“We are prioritising the most vulnerable groups and will do our best to get to everyone who requests a vaccine.” “We also wish to reiterate our message to those who have non-Covid-19 illnesses or worries: Please do contact your GP for us to check your symptoms.
“Nobody wants to miss a vital early diagnosis of a potentially serious illness or cancer.
“During the lockdown in spring, we were also aware that the incidence of domestic violence rose significantly.
“Women’s Aid reported a 43 percent increase in calls between March and June 2020 compared to the previous year.
“We want to say to people – contact your GP by phone if you need help.
“We are open and here to help with people under pressure.” For full information on latest Covid-19 guidelines go to https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/ For public health advice on Covid-19 symptoms go to https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/