THERE has been a “significant increase of calls” to GP surgeries in Cork from people concerned they may have contracted Coronavirus.
Lord Mayor Dr John Sheehan, who runs a GP surgery in Blackpool, said the practice received around 20 calls from concerned individuals yesterday.
“We’re encouraging people to ring and to be triaged and go through their symptoms, rather than coming down and presenting to the surgery,” the Lord Mayor told The Echo.
When people do make calls to the surgery, Dr Sheehan said that they are generally very calm: “A lot of it is more work-related queries and information.
"So, what might happen is it may be someone who is at work and they heard someone was possibly a case, and are wondering what to do.
“It may be someone who has a cold - but if you sneeze at work now, obviously there’s a concern - so their employer is taking precautions, so they’ve been asked to ring. A lot of it is fairly practical. It’s about information,” he said.
Asked whether the surgery had seen anyone presenting with symptoms, he said that there was one person who had viral-like symptoms, but it wasn’t Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Dr Sheehan does believe there has been an increase in people “naturally pulling back from activities.”
“They may have, for instance, someone who’s at home who’s undergoing chemotherapy or some treatment like that, and they just want to get precautions so they don’t transmit it to someone who is vulnerable.
“We’ve certainly seen a lot of people being extra cautious as a result of that, but I think that’s a very sensible thing to be doing,” he said.
Dr Sheehan also said he is still expecting a further increase in confirmed cases in Ireland in the coming week or two but is hopeful that there won’t be increases as large as in other countries such as Italy and China.
“I would expect a further increase in cases, just given what has happened in other countries.
“There has been a much higher awareness of it and the importance of handwashing and things like that, so hopefully that will mitigate the widespread community spread,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we still have a relatively small number of cases in Ireland and I think that’s due to a lot of the measures that have been put in place. We would expect to see an increase over the next week, but hopefully, we’ll avoid some massive surge in numbers because that would pose significant challenges to the health service,” Dr Sheehan concluded.