A CORK GP says the identification of significant numbers of cases of Covid-19 in Kildare, Laois and Offaly in recent days should serve as “a wake-up call to all of us.”
The country's first regional lockdown was introduced at midnight and will see residents of Kildare, Offaly and Laois barred from leaving their counties.
Dr Nuala O’Connor, who is also the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Covid-19 lead, said that while authorities are particularly concerned about the volume of cases of Covid-19 which have been identified in the three counties in recent days, that cases are also being identified in other areas.
“At the moment in Cork, there are very few cases of community transmission,” Dr O’Connor said.
“In Cork city and county, it is just a few sporadic cases.”
However, Dr O’Connor said that while it was easy to become complacent, that what is being seen in other parts of the country, could also be seen here.
“I think it’s easy for us all to be complacent.
“What has happened in Kildare, Laois and Offaly just show us that we can’t, because it could be Cork in the next few weeks,” she said.
“People are moving around the country a lot; people are socialising, families are getting together, friends are getting together, and we know that this is a very contagious disease and it spreads through respiratory droplets.
“When we are getting together and we are chatting and talking and laughing, that’s how the disease is spread.
“We are all socialising more, and we are socialising not just with people in county Cork, people have been on staycations and moved around the country.
“We just can't afford to be complacent anywhere,” Dr O’Connor added.
While just a small number of Covid-19 cases have been reported in Cork over the last two weeks, Dr O’Connor said GPs have been sending more people for tests in the last 14 days.
“GPs around Cork, and certainly in our own practice as well, we’ve sent more people for tests in the last week or so,” she said.
The Cork GP said that they had not had any positive results in their own practice and suspect there is another virus currently circulating.
However, Dr O’Connor appealed to anyone with symptoms, no matter how small, to make contact with their doctor.
She pointed out how while people initially needed to have two symptoms of Covid-19 to be referred for testing, this is no longer the case.
“We’re actually looking for just one symptom and it can sometimes be very mild, so you just might be feeling a little bit off, you might have a sense things taste a bit funny, or smell a bit funny, it can be something as simple as that, a little bit of shortness of breath, a cough, you may not feel particularly sick, but you have a cough that has come out of nowhere and you don't normally get a cough.
"If you get any symptoms at all like that, it is really important that you take yourself out of circulation, you don't go to work, you don't send children to creche and you contact your GP,” she said.