HSE management in Cork and Kerry have thanked the public for their support on the anniversary of the first Covid Area Crisis Management Team meeting.
The HSE Area Crisis Management Team for Cork and Kerry met for the first time in relation to Covid-19 on January 28 last year.
The team, consisting of representatives from acute hospitals, community services, and vital support services along with experts in emergency management, met 81 times last year and continues to meet at least twice a week to coordinate plans and provide the best possible response to Covid-19 challenges.
Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Michael Fitzgerald, who is Chair of the Area Crisis Management Team, said that all healthcare staff have been boosted throughout the crisis by the support of the public in both Cork and Kerry.
Our teams in all parts of the health service have been working non-stop to protect communities, and when possible to keep other services running. In the last month, they have faced the biggest challenges of the pandemic.
“At all times, the support of the people of Cork and Kerry has been behind them, and our staff are very grateful for this. They are particularly grateful for the ongoing efforts which people are making to stop the spread of Covid-19, as this is beginning to make a difference,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
CEO of the South/South West Hospital Group, Gerry O’Dwyer, paid tribute to all staff working in the health service who have worked tirelessly to provide the highest quality of care to patients and that “continued support by the public” is required moving forward.
“We are hopeful that the vaccination programme will enable us to reach a stage where restrictions can be relaxed, but this will take time and will require continued support by the public, who have already made huge efforts to adhere to the restrictions.
Until then, the best thing we can all do to protect our hospitals, our nursing homes and our healthcare workers is to stay at home as much as possible, limit our contacts, wash our hands and wear our masks.
Acting Director of Public Health for the region, Dr Anne Sheahan said that although it is clear that transmission in the community has dropped, that “there will be a lag of several weeks before that will be felt in the health services”.
“For now, all health services remain under significant pressure and we all need to continue our efforts a little longer,” she said.
Dr Sheahan said that it is understandable that people may leave their guard down slightly once transmission rates in the community reduce, but warned that ”if we ease up at all, then transmission rates will go back up quickly and we all know the toll that takes on vital health services”.