A Cork GP has said that while people should look forward to the easing of restrictions over the coming month, that the “virus hasn’t changed” and that Covid-testing and vaccination will remain part of our lives for some time yet.
Speaking to The Echo, Dr Nick Flynn said that people “should look forward to restrictions easing” because the Government has formed the opinion that the risk to society and the health service is low.
The Cork GP said, however, that the virus is still around and advised people to continue to wear face coverings, to social distance, wash their hands, sanitise, and “not be reckless”.
“I think people who have made a huge effort to keep numbers down should look forward to their social lives again but just to do it in a way that's the safest way possible in the situation they’re in,” he said.
Dr Flynn said that he has experienced increased contact from his patients with possible symptoms and that there has been an increase in referrals for testing in the last two weeks.
“There’s a slight trend as well with schools and workplaces where people have been sent home with symptoms, probably with hayfever, but work and schools say they can’t come back until they have an undetected test,” he said.
He said that overall, things are looking positive and that the efficacy of the vaccines has been seen in the UK and Israel as the way out of this pandemic but that “Covid vaccination, Covid testing and being responsible is going to be part of our psyche or mentality for at least 12 to 18 months”.
“I do think that what we have seen is that vaccines are effective. The most vulnerable are at this point in time being vaccinated so by the time we get through another maybe four or six weeks of the most vulnerable and then we’re down into the younger age groups, we should see less pressure on the HSE from the point of view of ICU beds and hospital admissions and that’s where we want to be,” he said.
Dr Flynn's comments come as latest figures show that three Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) in Cork recorded fewer than five cases in the 14 days to April 26 namely; the Kanturk LEA, Skibbereen-West Cork LEA, and Bantry-West Cork LEA.
Furthermore, of the areas which reported more than five cases, five LEAs in Cork were among the ten LEAs in the country with the lowest national LEA incidence rates per 100,000 population.
The Bandon-Kinsale LEA had the lowest LEA Covid-19 incidence rate per 100,000 (where not suppressed) at 13.4.
The Cork City South East LEA had the second-lowest rate nationally at 16.4 and the Carrigaline LEA had the third-lowest rate nationally at 17.1
The Macroom LEa had the seventh-lowest rate nationally at 19 while the Cork City North East LEA had the ninth-lowest rate at 21.3.
Latest HSE figures show the number of Covid-19 positive patients admitted to Cork hospitals has remained low in recent weeks.
On Sunday night, there were three Covid-19 positive inpatients at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and three patienst with suspected Covid-19.
There were no Covid-19 positive patients at Mercy University Hospital (MUH) and no suspected Covid-19 patients.
There were also no Covid-19 patients in the critical care units at CUH or MUH.
Nationally, there were 41 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Critical Care Units across the country.
The total number of people in hospital with Covid-19 as of Monday was 129, of which 40 were in ICU, a significant decrease on the numbers admitted to hospital with Covid-19 last month.
While Cork’s case numbers had continued to decline throughout early April, they have increased in recent weeks.
On Friday, April 30, Cork recorded 50 cases and a 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population of 53.4.
Two weeks prior, on April 16, Cork had recorded 17 cases and a 14-day incidence rate of 49.6.