The high levels of Covid19 in St Luke’s Hospital is a “relevant” factor in Kilkenny’s sharp rise in cases recently.
So says Dr Carmel Mullaney, Head of Public Health in the South East.
It comes as outpatient services at St Luke’s are still suspended this week, and many wards remain shut due to an outbreak of the virus there.
Last night the hospital again had the country’s second-highest number of patients with the virus – 26, just one behind Letterkenny. While there are three further suspected cases at the local facility.
Dr Mullaney says it would be very easy for cases in the hospital to spread into the community, telling KCLR “It is relevant because I suppose an acute hospital is not an island it’s linked to the community inextricably both through the patients being admitted in and people being discharged out and the large number of healthcare workers, there are well over 1,000 healthcare workers working in St Luke’s so it’s a huge community really and an increase in cases there and an outbreak there will have an effect on the rates in the community”.
As Covid cases continue to rise locally, people are being warned to stay at home if they show any symptoms and Dr Mullaney is urging locals to work from home where possible.
She says “We really should keep in the backs of our minds, or even to the forefront of our minds, the basic measures in regard to Covid and one of the key things there is the symptoms because I think people feel while there isn’t as much Covid in the country as there was that the basic measures are not as important but they still are and I think very important among those is not to go to work with symptoms so cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss of taste, loss of smell, these are the key symptoms”.
Dr Mullaney adds the virus is spreading in a variety of settings, telling KCLR “The second wave I suppose workplaces have been more prominent because more of them have been open and fewer people working remotely but that is still advisable because basically anywhere where people congregate there’s potential for spread and while we all know that we need to stay two meters apart, that we need to wear masks if there’s any chance of being within two meters, there are many workplaces where people have a perception ‘it wouldn’t happen here'”.
An infectious disease expert says it could be the end of 2021 before we’re back to the ‘old normal.’
It’s after one further Covid19 related death was confirmed last evening, with 215 more cases of the virus – 15 in Kilkenny and five in Carlow.
Ireland’s national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population is now 80.2. Kilkenny’s continues to climb and is now at 178.4, still the country’s second-highest county figure, while Carlow’s is at 117.7.
UCC Professor Gerry Killeen says it could be December of 2021 before life returns to the way it was before the pandemic.
The country’s largest public-sector trade union has welcomed the news that key workers will be prioritised for Covid19 vaccines.
That list was published yesterday, with frontline healthcare workers and people over the age of 70 to be among the first groups to receive the jab.
Forsa says it’ll press for some other state employees in essential jobs to be classified as key workers, such as border agents.
The Union’s Head of Education Andy Pike is due to meet with government officials later today,
A new Covid19 testing centre is opening in Dublin today at Leopardstown Racecourse.
Tropical Medical Bureau and Plusvital will offer same day results of PCR tests for 120 euro.
There will also be a drive-through testing facility on-site, and a travel certificate will be provided.
Over 150 people have already booked appointments in advance of the opening today.