With Covid cases rising, new warning on continued need for vigilance in north west

With the increase in COVID-19 cases in the North West, the health service is again highlighting the importance of continuing to practise good public health behaviours.

The warning this afternoon is also coming ahead of the coming August bank holiday weekend, when more people are expected to be out and about, meeting and socialising.

With Covid numbers are on an upward trend, Dr Anthony Breslin, Director of Public Health, HSE North West, says people know what they have to do when it comes to public health measures.

With the bank holiday approaching, he is again urging people not to congregate in large numbers, to observe social distancing and to continue good handwashing practices.

Meanwhile, Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, says it is clear we are now on the upward curve of the fourth wave of COVID-19 infection.

But he added we don’t yet know how many people will get seriously ill and who will require hospital care or treatment in an Intensive Care Unit.

However, he says even a small percentage translates into a larger number of patients needing hospitalisation.

He also points out that even before we see the impact of the fourth wave on our hospitals, there are record numbers of people attending the Emergency Departments, many of whom need to be admitted to hospital for ongoing treatment.

It’s a level of activity normally not seen until December and January, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the health officials says the increase in COVID-19 cases in the community is a great concern and they are appealing to the public to continue to be vigilant when it comes to wearing masks and keeping social distance.

Anyone aged 18 and over who hasn’t yet registered to get a free COVID-19 vaccine at the IT Sligo or Carrick on Shannon Vaccination Centres are urged to do so by going to hse.ie.

John Hayes, Chief Officer, CHO Area 1 covering Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo, says there are large numbers attending for COVID-19 testing at test sites at Finisklin in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim.

Health officials say that now more than ever, with restrictions easing, people must not to let their guard down.