The People of Kerry Being Asked to Re-double their Efforts

Covid-19 Traffic Restrictions Garda Checkpoints at Dooneen / Mick Galwey Roundabout outside Castleisland at the end of April. The people of Kerry are being asked to re-double their efforts to avoid a return  to measures like these . ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-4-2020

Statutory agencies have appealed to the people of Kerry to re-double their efforts this weekend and beyond to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Working through the regional inter-agency emergency management group, the HSE, Kerry County Council and an Garda Siochana have worked together since the start of the Covid-19 crisis to co-ordinate the community response.

This weekend they praised the people of Kerry for everything they have done since March to keep communities safe.

Concern at Increases Elsewhere

Chair of the area HSE Crisis management team, Michael Fitzgerald, thanked the people of Kerry for their huge work to date.

“Now, we need to ask you for your support yet again. We are concerned about the increased number of cases we are seeing in some areas, in particular cases which we know have spread in social settings.

“We are once again at a critical point. The actions we all take right now will dictate the spread of the virus over the coming weeks. The most important thing we can do is to keep our distance from each other, both by coming in contact with fewer people and maintaining at least two metres distance from others if we must see them.”

Evidence of Community Transmission

Acting Director of Public Health for the region, Dr. Anne Sheahan, said that while there is evidence of some community transmission of the virus, many recent confirmed cases can be traced back to transmission within family groups and groups of friends.

“It is crucial that we all act right now to reduce the number of people we come into contact with. I appreciate that this is a big ask of people, but the alternative is that we see a continued rise in the number of cases.

“Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible to spread the disease even if you don’t have symptoms and are feeling well. That means it’s possible that you can pick up the virus from a friend while socialising – and then pass it on to another more vulnerable family member or friend without knowing.”

Dr. Sheahan added that one of the most important things we can all do is keep an eye out for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss or change to sense of taste and then take immediate action.

“Isolate yourself from others and phone your GP for advice – remember that a referral and test for COVID are free and you do not have to be registered with a GP,” she said. 

Stick to Government Advice

The group asked the public to continue to adhere to all Government advice and restrictions, and also to: Reduce the number of visitors to your own home; Limit the number of people you meet outside your home as much as possible.

Continue to avoid crowds. In particular, if you are socialising, make sure you keep a distance of two metres from others.

Keep a core circle of people that you meet over the coming weeks.

And as always, keep up the safe practices that we all know about – keep a distance; wear a face covering where appropriate; wash your hands and catch your coughs and sneezes.

Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO, South / South West Hospital Group said:

All hospital based health care workers are urging members of the public to continue to abide by the guidelines regarding Covid-19.

“Across the S/SWHG, hospital staff are working tirelessly to fight this virus to provide safe, high-quality care to patients.

“The S/SWHG is very proud of our dedicated staff and how they have responded to this challenge. The perseverance which staff across the group have shown and their on-going commitment to providing the best possible care is greatly appreciated.

Not adhering to the national guidelines will inevitably place extra pressure on the hospital system.”

Appeal from Cathaoirleach Connor-Scarteen

Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen appealed to the people of Kerry to make every effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus at this very critical juncture.

‘We simply cannot afford to becoming fatigued or frustrated by restrictions which have forced us all to change the way we live and interact with each other. The tremendous civic spirit shown by the citizens of Kerry to date must be maintained if we are to prevent a significant escalation in cases of COVID-19. Individually and collectively, we must all continue to come together by staying apart, by reducing our contacts, by washing our hands and by adhering to public health advice. The price of not doing so is simply too high,’ he said.

An Garda Síochána – Policing by Consent 

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said “In supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines, An Garda Síochána has always maintained a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent.

This has seen Gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. It remains vital that you continue to play your part by limiting contact with others and this will save lives.”

The Kerry Community Response Forum Contacts

The Kerry Community Response Forum can be contacted on: 1800 807 009 TEXT ‘SUPPORT’ and your NAME to 50555 8am to 8pm seven days a week