Mid-West health chiefs urge people to adhere to public health measures despite drop in cases

Declining cases do not present the full picture as close contacts are not being tested, health officials have said
Mid-West health chiefs urge people to adhere to public health measures despite drop in cases

While the number of Covid-positive inpatients in UHL has decreased this week, much of this relates to the delisting of patients as Covid-positive rather than recovered patients being discharged from hospital. Picture: Denis Minihane

Health chiefs in the mid-west have urged people not to let their guard down despite a decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the region.

The Department of Public Health Mid-West, UL Hospitals Group, and HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare have urged people in Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary to not get distracted by the gradual decrease in Covid-19 cases and to continue following public health measures.

Due to public compliance to level 5 restrictions, there has been a considerable decrease in daily infections across the Mid-West. The cases have dropped from 238 on January 12 to 70 on January 25 across the region.

However, due to close contacts not being tested at this time, the health chiefs say it is important for people to understand that the current daily figures do not present a “full picture”, and advise that people should consider everyone they meet a positive case.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “The current trend of decreasing infection levels is a welcome one, and helps our team manage complex clusters and outbreaks when they do arise.

However, previous experience has shown that where is there is a noticeable drop in cases, there can be a shift in behaviours whereby some members of the public relax their efforts, which then leads to more cases and outbreaks in the community.” 

Dr Mannix says the people of the Mid-West have a responsibility to help decrease the regions infection levels: “Our baseline of cases is far too high at present for us to drop the guard, and we now have a collective responsibility to suppress the spread of the virus in the community, as our healthcare services continue to treat a significant number of very ill patients with Covid-19.” 

While the number of Covid-positive inpatients in UHL has decreased this week, much of this relates to the delisting of patients as Covid-positive rather than recovered patients being discharged from hospital.

UL Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan, said: “While patients may no longer be considered actively infectious and may be treated on a post-Covid or non-Covid ward, many patients will require ongoing care and rehabilitation before they are well enough to be discharged. These patients often require a longer stay in hospital. 

"There are also very unwell patients receiving respiratory support on our medical wards who may, unfortunately, require to be admitted to ICU. And more work is required of all of us to further reduce community transmission.” 

HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare chief officer Maria Bridgeman has reiterated the importance of following public health guidelines to protect the most vulnerable in Ireland. 

“Our battle with Covid-19 has been inhibited by many challenges including staffing so it is vital the public continue to play their part to save lives, please adhere to the public measures, please stay at home and please limit your contacts as every effort and sacrifice you make really does count.”

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