‘We are at a critical point’ – special appeal from Kilkenny Council, gardai and HSE amid rise in Covid cases
Kilkenny Council, local gardai and health chiefs have joined forces to male a special public appeal to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The joint statement issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE), local authority bosses and Garda leaders comes after nine new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, bringing the overall number of infections in the county to 463.
In a special appeal, they said the “case numbers are clearly rising across the country” urged everyone in Kilkenny city and county “to remain vigilant, to ensure that all of our hard work to date isn’t eroded”.
The Chair of the South East Regional Steering Group for Major Emergency Management (comprising the three principal response agencies: An Garda Siochana, the HSE and the Local Authorities) and Chief Officer of HSE/South East Community Healthcare Kate Killeen White, joined by Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Director of the HSE’s South East Public Health Dept. Dr. Carmel Mullaney, urged people to:
· Wash your hands well and often;
· Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing;
· Limit contact with others and maintain physical distancing;
· Wear a face mask or covering where appropriate.
The HSE said that when these actions are taken, it prevents transmission of the virus and also protects older and vulnerable people and healthcare workers.
St Luke’s General Hospital General Manager Anne Slattery said: “Community transmission represents the greatest threat to patients and staff in hospitals and residential care facilities.”. She urged people making plans to meet friends/family and socialise this week to “take a minute to consider healthcare workers who have been at the frontline since the beginning of the pandemic and their patients and who remain very vulnerable to this highly infectious virus, in hospitals, in nursing homes and other care settings”.
The leader of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, the local authority chief executive, Colette Byrne, also urged people “to continue their good efforts and not to allow everyone’s hard work to date in 2020 to be undermined”. They said in the statement: “Individual actions do matter. Everyone in county Kilkenny needs to live by the advice being given, that way our schools can be kept open and the progress made on the roadmap to recovery be maintained. We all need to play our part.”
Kilkenny’s most senior Garda, Chief Superintendent Padraig Dunne, pointed out that the country is now moving from “a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term one”. He said it is vital everyone plays a part to “manage risk and repair the damage that Covid-19 has inflicted on society”.
Superintendent Dunne concluded the joint message by saying: “We are at a critical point in tackling the spread of Covid-19 and people in Kilkenny must take personal responsibility to avoid situations that are a risk to themselves, their family and their friends.”