A CORK consultant is pleading with the community to help delay the spread of coronavirus, as the outbreak intensifies.
Dr Corinna Sadlier, who is a consultant in infectious diseases in Cork, said hospitals here are well prepared to deal with an influx of cases of Covid-19 but are dependant on people in the community to play their part in tackling the outbreak.
It was confirmed yesterday that there are 20 new cases of coronavirus in the Republic, bringing the total number to 90. Of these new cases, six are associated with travel; 12 are associated with contacts of confirmed cases, four of which are healthcare workers; and two are associated with community transmission.
The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and to prevent further spread.
The two new community transmission cases bring the total number of cases for which the HSE has been unable to identify links to seven.
There have been six people admitted to ICU with Covid-19.
To date, there has been one confirmed death from Covid-19 in Ireland.
Hospitals in Cork have stepped up efforts to deal with the outbreak including restricting visitors, reducing outpatient appointments, acquiring additional resources, and upskilling staff.
“The next few weeks will be hard,” said Dr Sadlier. “Staff are here and are ready to look after patients. We have done everything we can to prepare; hopefully, that will be enough.”
Dr Sadlier said people are coming together at every level in the hospital to prepare for additional cases, and that every resource needed is being provided.
“I’ve never seen unity, comradery like this. Nobody is saying no to anybody. Everyone is willing to support the efforts. Everything is being provided and nothing is too much. It’s remarkable really.”
She said, however, that hospitals could only do so much and are somewhat powerless at stopping the spread of the disease in the community. She said it is vital that people follow the guidance on issues such as hand-washing, social distancing, and mass gatherings.
“The Government has had to make difficult decisions,” she said. “As a healthcare worker, I’m urging people to follow these. It’s all about what people outside the hospital do to delay and stop the spread.
“We are depending on people in the community to play their part, to follow the advice, and to influence others to do the same. We are urging people to be sensible. Elderly people will be most affected, but younger people will be affected too.”
Dr Sadlier said that a number of people with confirmed cases of Covid-19, with mild illness, had been discharged and were self-isolating at home.
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.
“More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic,” he said.
Northern Ireland has recorded its biggest increase so far in Covid-19 cases. Another nine positive cases were detected yesterday, bringing the tally in the North to 29.
Here, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan responded to rumours that the country would be under a ‘Status Red lockdown’ in the coming days.
“We are not locking down the country; we have no plans to lock down the country,” he said.
The National Public Health Emergency Team has made the decision to update the case definition.
Symptoms of new-onset fever of 38 degrees or more, or chills and/or symptoms of respiratory tract infections including cough will be considered when assessing the requirement for testing.
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