Despite a recent jump in the number of cases of COVID-19 being reported in Cork, a leading health expert has said there is no reason to believe that we will not move into the next phase of the Roadmap to re-open the country next week, while a consultant in infectious diseases at CUH has said that a second wave of the virus is not an inevitability.
The latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows that the number of cases of COVID-19 being reported in Cork is continuing to rise, despite stabilising in other areas.
1,514 cases of COVID-19 were reported here up to midnight on Saturday night, an increase of 37 cases on the previous day.
The rise could be seen as significant given that for the entire period between May 22 and 29, 49 additional cases had been reported for the county.
Furthermore, Cork was one of just 10 counties to report additional cases of COVID-19 between midnight on Friday night and on Saturday night.
Thirty-seven additional cases were also reported from Clare, 10 cases were reported from Dublin and the remaining seven counties reported single-digit increases.
Cork-based GP and President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Dr Mary Favier said that the recent jump in cases in Cork was not community-based and “largely related to a factory environment.”
Dr Favier, who is also a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), said that people could be finding it difficult to adhere to the current restrictions, but that while there was a visual sense that people were not following the restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as closely as they were that the “vast majority of people are at home doing the right thing.” The ICGP President pointed out that two weeks have now passed since the restrictions were eased, and said it would take another week to really see the impact of this.
However, she said while GPs are currently very busy, that “very little” of their current consultations were COVID-19 related.
Dr Corinna Sadlier, a consultant in infectious diseases in Cork University Hospital (CUH) said that the hospital hadn’t seen a jump in COVID admissions.
Furthermore, while there has been much discourse around preparing for a second-wave of COVID-19, Dr Sadlier said this does not have to be inevitable.
The CUH consultant highlighted how significant public health and testing infrastructure has now in place to deal with the outbreak and said it could be possible to suppress the virus “We don’t have to have a second wave,” she said.
However, the Cork-based consultant cautioned that this is all dependent on the public.
While Dr Sadlier said that “people by and large are being very responsible”, she voiced concern over recent reports of young people gathering at parties in the vicinity of Magazine Road.
“It is disappointing really. People have made a lot of sacrifices. People should be aware of asymptomatic transmission. You don't have to have symptoms to spread it to a group of friends, who then go back to their families and spread it,” she explained.
“People are not just taking a risk themselves, they are risking it for the rest of us,” Dr Sadlier said.
The CUH consultant said she also believed that more people also need to buy into wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We know they provide protection and we need to buy into this. It [COVID-19] hasn’t gone away,” she said.
It comes as latest HSE data shows that on Monday night, 37 people were admitted to critical care units at 13 hospitals around the country.
Of these three were being cared for at Cork University Hospital (CUH), two were being treated at the Mercy Hospital and one patient was being cared for at the Bon Secours hospital.
The HSE Operations report showed that just nine beds were available for people requiring admission to critical care units in the city, with 73 general beds available