HSE 'cannot dispute' coronavirus projections; Dept warns people to avoid Lombardy in Italy

HSE 'cannot dispute' coronavirus projections; Dept warns people to avoid Lombardy in Italy

Update - 17.31pm: Second Cork hospital hit with Covid-19 case in Bon Secours

Staff at Cork's Bon Secours Hospital have been told of a confirmed case of Covid-19, bringing to two the number of cases of the virus now in hospitals in the city.

A message sent to staff today said: "Bon Secours to all staff. We have a confirmed case of Covid-19. We are satisfied appropriate measures have been put in place.

"The Hospital continues to function as normal with visitor restrictions in place."

The message concluded that staff information systems will be held on Monday.

Earlier: Irish College of GPs ask people to 'pay attention' and not present at GP surgeries with coronavirus symptoms

Irish College of GPs have asked people to stop presenting at doctors' surgeries with symptoms of the coronavirus

The group's president Mary Favier says this is dangerous and placing a lot of pressure on the GP service.

She said that a number of GPs have reported patients turning up to clinics with symptoms and ignoring warning posters.

"Now to be fair not everybody has access to the internet, not everybody is literate, some people don't speak English as a first language," she said.

"But some of the people who are presenting to GPs at the moment fulfill none of these criteria.

"So we would really ask people to pay attention."

Earlier: HSE cannot dispute projections for coronavirus spread

The HSE has said it cannot dispute projections that 1.9 million people in the Republic of Ireland may fall ill with coronavirus.

A report in the Business Post says half of those people are expected to contract the virus over a three-week concentration burst.

However, the Health Service Executive also said that the modelling scenario has not been completed yet.

They pointed out that trends in Italy indicate large numbers of cases are possible.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is to give an update on confirmed cases in the country this evening.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Irish citizens to avoid travelling to the Italian region of Lombardy.

They also said people should stay away from other Italian provinces - Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna - that have also been placed in isolation.

Milan and Venice are among Italian cities which are being shut down today in attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Italian government has isolated the towns of Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano which are in Lombardy.

The town of Vo’, which is in Veneto, has also been closed down.

Nobody in Lombardy, and across 14 provinces, will be allowed in or out - effectively putting around 16 million people in quarantine.

Earlier: CUH cancels some outpatient appointments; call for cancellation of St Patrick's Day parades

Cork University Hospital (CUH) is cancelling some outpatient appointments over the next three days in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The measures come following the identification of coronavirus in a middle aged male patient at CUH.

Authorities in Cork have been unable to explain how the patient contracted the virus making it the first community transmission of the disease.

CUH said surgeries will proceed as normal unless patients are contacted by the hospital and advised otherwise.

The hospital said the outpatient appointments between Monday and Wednesday will be rescheduled, but they listed those services which will go ahead as planned.

    The following services will not be impacted and patients are to attend as per their appointments:

  • Dialysis
  • Dressing clinic
  • Warfarin clinic
  • Endoscopy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Infusions
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

CUH apologised for the inconvenience this may cause to patients.

The hospital is also continuing its visitor ban which is also in place at a number of Irish hospitals due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Elective surgeries and outpatient appointments on Monday and Tuesday at six hospitals across Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary have been cancelled.

Covid-19 queries can be directed to the national helpline on 1850-24-1850, while up-to-date information will continue to be available at www.HSE.ie/coronavirus.

Meanwhile, it is understood that medical staff at CUH have been asked to postpone leave until the situation comes under control.

Management at the South/South West Hospital Group have also asked that members of the public explore all other options available to them prior to presenting to Emergency Departments in the city if their needs are not urgent.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, has urged the public not to panic in the face of developments in the city and to take simple precautionary hygiene methods.

Cllr Sheehan said: "People (who are worried about symptoms) should ring their GP. They shouldn't go up to A&E and they shouldn't go to the surgery.

The full confirmation for coronavirus takes 48 hours but they get an idea much faster. Ordinary handwashing is as good (as sanitisers.) Soap and water works as well.

"Ordinary hygiene methods such as using your elbow when you are coughing. Disposing of the tissues. People should refrain from hand shaking. All the ordinary measures."

- Additional copy by Olivia Kelleher

Earlier: Coronavirus: Professor calls for St Patrick's Day parades to be cancelled

A leading cancer doctor has said protecting the sick and infirm from Covid-19 should be enough reason to cancel the St Patrick's Day Parade.

It comes as Blarney cancelled its parade over coronavirus fears.

Professor John Crown said evidence from China shows cancer patients and survivors have the highest rates of critical illness if infected.

Four people were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus on the island yesterday -- three in the North and one in the Republic.

HSE 'cannot dispute' coronavirus projections; Dept warns people to avoid Lombardy in Italy

The patient in the Republic is male, in the east of the country and "associated with travel" from northern Italy. It brings the total to 19 confirmed cases in the Republic.

The three new cases in the North are all adults who had recently travelled from Italy and are linked to a previously confirmed positive case.

The new confirmed cases bring the total on the island of Ireland to 26.

Prof. Crown said it is not good enough for authorities to say a bout of Covid-19 is a mild illness for most.

He said: "Generally older, frailer people are more likely to get seriously and life-threateningly ill with this than healthy people and I get slightly irritated at a certain sense of, I won't say flippancy, but a certain sense that people who are offering reassurance don;t read about this the only people who die are the old and the frail.

"The old and the frail and the sick are very important."

Retail group Musgrave has contacted suppliers asking for information on the predicted effect of the coronavirus on their supply chains.

According to today's Sunday Independent, Musgraves - the group behind the Super Valu and Centra chains - is working with suppliers to build up its own-brand stock and has increased its holding of stock.

The paper also reports that BWG, which owns the Spar brand, confirmed it was in ongoing contact with its 650 suppliers here.

Visitor bans are to remain in place at a number of hospitals.

Elective surgeries and outpatient appointments on Monday and Tuesday at six hospitals across Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary have been cancelled.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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