‘It’s in our hands’ – Waterford Council, gardai HSE and hospital chiefs urge people to ‘remain vigilant’
Local government, health and Garda chiefs have joined forces to again urge the people of Waterford to continue to “remain vigilant” to the threat of Covid-19.
In a joint statement, Waterford Council, local gardai, University Hospital Waterford and South East Community Healthcare welcomed the recent easing off of cases of the virus locally.
But they warned against complacency and urged members of the public to continue to do everything they can to ensure we live “as best we can with the virus”.
Chair of the HSE’s regional Crisis Management Team and Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare, Kate Killeen White, said: “Our individual actions do matter. They all count. They do work. If we live by the advice we are being given, we can keep our schools open, resume non-Covid healthcare and protect our vulnerable people.”
The General Manager of University Hospital Waterford, Grace Rothwell, said her colleagues are extremely grateful for the “massive co-operation and support” frontline services have received from people locally and around the South East over the last six months.
She added: “It has been an extraordinary year for us all – a sad one, a challenging one and one to get through staying safe and with better times ahead in mind. Having coped so effectively up to now, we want to see Waterford go the way of our neighbours in South Tipp where numbers have reduced. There are basics we can all do in our daily lives to make sure we don’t get to the point where hospitals are again admitting significant numbers of cases.”
Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Director of the HSE’s South East Public Health Department, Dr Carmel Mullaney, acknowledged there has been a slight slowdown of cases in recent days. But she warned it is still too soon to know whether this is a trend in the Waterford area.
Dr Mullaney said: “Public health doctors regularly see cases occurring in people who are close contacts of confirmed cases and have not restricted their movements. Remember that Covid-19 is highly contagious and you can be infectious without symptoms.
“If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, please follow the advice you have been given and restrict your movements for 14 days – do not go to school or work, do not have visitors to your home, do not go to the shop or pharmacy unless it is absolutely necessary. And please avail of a test when it is offered. Last week one in 10 close contacts, when tested, were found to be positive – many of them had no symptoms. Above all if you develop a cough or fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, then stay at home, and contact your GP.”
Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council Michael Walsh said inconvenience to communities is evident where continued trends in Covid numbers led to more restrictions.
Mr Walsh said: “It’s very clear, in our vibrant city and all over this beautiful county, that people want to avoid the implementation of further restrictions. If that resolve is matched by an adherence to the basics, we can continue – as individuals and communities – to move in the right direction.
“I would ask everyone to remember the simple things – 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. If this is done, there will be a positive outcome.”
The Chief Superintendent of An Gárda Siochana in Waterford, Padraig Dunne, said progress in the fight against the virus is in all of our hands.
“As we saw here in Co. Waterford throughout the year, Ireland has been moving from a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term one – that is to manage risk and repair the damage that Covid-19 has inflicted on society,” said Chief Superintendent Dunne.
“We are at a critical point in tackling the spread of Covid-19 and everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid situations that are a risk to themselves, their family and their friends.”