Efforts are under way in Fermoy and Mitchelstown to minimise the general exposure to an outbreak of Covid-19 which has impacted workers in the area.
The situation with Covid-19 in meat processing plants, and factory-like workplaces, across Ireland has been well documented and is a challenge to us all.
“As GPs we have been working to support those affected by the local outbreak and are liaising with Public Health in Cork,” explained Dr Paddy Burke of the Medina Medical Group.
Friends and family of those who have tested positive have been very proactive in helping them to get shopping, enabling them to isolate at home for the safety of others and in some cases, interpreter services have been arranged locally.
Dr Paddy Burke added: “With the current large number of positive tests in the area, we need to be as careful as ever with two-metre distancing and hand washing. However, be reassured that if we all stick strictly to this advice, the chances of contracting Covid-19 while going out for a walk are still low.”
And Dr Catherine Clifford of the Park Clinic in Fermoy said it’s encouraging to see the local community working together at this time.
“Two weeks of isolation can be lonely and a logistical struggle, so we are encouraged to hear that the local community in the Fermoy and Mitchelstown area is helping out those affected.”
GPs are keen to point out that it’s still safe for people to visit their clinic for vaccinations, antenatal appointments and other medical care.
Dr Clifford said: “The current outbreak does not mean that our clinics are less safe. Systems are now in place to ensure that people with Covid-19 very rarely need to physically come into GP surgeries. We assess patients by phone, while certificates and prescriptions are processed electronically.
“Most of those affected will recover with rest at home, but if someone becomes unwell and needs further attention, we’d usually refer them to the Community Assessment Hub in Cork or A&E in Cork University Hospital.”
GPs are reminding people to contact them if they feel unwell.
Dr Elma Gaffney of the LivingHealth Clinic in Mitchelstown told The Avondhu this week: “We can now test anyone with symptoms of cough, fever or breathlessness so please contact us to arrange this. It is free for everyone, not just those with medical cards. It is vital that anyone with symptoms isolates themselves at home with no visitors and that those in their households also do not go to work, churches or shops.
“In terms of getting food and other essential items during self-isolation, people may be able to use online shopping services provided by supermarkets like Tesco and SuperValu.”
Should one’s condition deteriorate, Dr Marty Moller of the Family First Medical Practice in Fermoy said it’s important to act quickly.
He said: “The majority of people who contract the virus will recover within a week, but for those who are more seriously affected with Covid-19, breathlessness is the thing to watch out for, usually in the second week of the illness.
“Breathing can deteriorate rapidly so it is very important that if anyone, who has a known or suspected case of Covid-19, starts to feel breathless they do not delay in contacting their GP surgery or SouthDoc – or in an emergency call 999.”
The small changes in restrictions means more people are out and about now than they were a week ago. Dr Sura Aldeen of the Fermoy-Rathcormac Medical Practice said: “We should be clear that we are still limited to outdoor meetings, at a distance of two metres. This is the case for everyone – including children.”
And GPs stressed that nursing homes in the area remain free of Covid-19.
“We congratulate staff in the nursing homes and the community hospital for their hard work during a stressful period,” added Dr Aldeen.
To send us your questions just email Avondhugp@gmail.com
For all the information you need on Covid-19/coronavirus and how to self-isolate then visit HSE.ie
The GP group in Fermoy and Mitchelstown will provide weekly updates in The Avondhu on Covid-19/coronavirus advice, specific to your local area.