HSE Area Crisis Management Team for Covid-19 – One Year On

Kealgorm House on Limerick Road, Castleisland which was being prepared as a HSE Covid-19 community assessment hub with removals vans and supplies in early April 2020. ©Photograph: John Reidy 3-4-2020
Work on the car-park attached to Kealgorm House going full tilt on Limerick Road this afternoon. ©Photograph: John Reidy 29-1-2021

One year on – HSE management in Cork and Kerry thanks the public for its support on the anniversary of the first Covid Area Crisis Management Team meeting.

In late March and early April last year preparations were being made as Kealgorm House on Castleisland’s Limerick Road was being prepared as a ‘community assessment hub’ where members of the public would present for assessment and testing on the recommendations of their doctor.

Badly Needed Car-Park

Almost a year on there is no sign of the originally proposed activity there, but work is going full tilt ahead on the badly needed car-park across the busy Limerick Road from the building.

One Year On

Yesterday, Thursday January 28th marked one year since the HSE area crisis management team for Cork and Kerry met for the first time in relation to Covid-19.

That team met 81 times in 2020, and continues to meet at least twice a week at the moment as all parts of the health service respond to a third wave of Covid-19.

Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

The team is chaired by Michael Fitzgerald, the chief officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare. Senior managers from across the health services in both counties meet through the team to co-ordinate plans and provide the best possible response to Covid-19 challenges.

The team brings together representatives from acute hospitals, from community services, from vital support services along with experts in emergency management.

Team Boosted by Support

Chair of the team, Michael Fitzgerald said that all healthcare staff have been boosted throughout the crisis by the support of the public in Cork and Kerry.

Our teams in all parts of the health service have been working non-stop to protect communities, and when possible to keep other services running.

Challenges of The Pandemic

In the last month, they have faced the biggest challenges of the pandemic.

At all times, the support of the people of Cork and Kerry has been behind them, and our staff are very grateful for this. They are particularly grateful for the ongoing efforts which people are making to stop the spread of Covid-19, as this is beginning to make a difference,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO of the South/South West Hospital Group

Mr. O’Dwyer paid tribute to all staff working in the health service who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to provide the highest quality of care in the most difficult of  circumstances in probably the most challenging year ever in healthcare.

On behalf of all our incredible, dedicated staff, we have to ask you to keep up your efforts and continue to obey the Government and Public Health Guidelines.

Continued Support Required

We are hopeful that the vaccination programme will enable us to reach a stage where restrictions can be relaxed, but this will take time and will require continued support by the public, who have already made huge efforts to adhere to the restrictions.

Stay at Home

Until then, the best thing we can all do to protect our hospitals, our nursing homes and our healthcare workers is to stay at home as much as possible, limit our contacts, wash our hands and wear our masks,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Dr. Anne Sheahan, Acting Director of Public Health

Dr. Sheahan said that it’s clear that the people of both counties are following public health advice and avoiding contact with anyone outside their household.

We can clearly see that transmission in the community has dropped. Unfortunately, there will be a lag of several weeks before that will be felt in the health services. For now, all health services remain under significant pressure and we all need to continue our efforts a little longer.

Toll on Vital Health Services

Unfortunately, if we ease up at all, then transmission rates will go back up quickly and we all know the toll that takes on vital health services.

Dr. Sheahan added that it’s understandable that people may leave their guard down slightly once transmission rates in the community reduce, but she warned that this would again increase the ongoing pressure on hospitals, nursing homes and the testing system.

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