By Graham Clifford
GPs in Fermoy and Mitchelstown are concerned that people living in our area do not fully understand what they need to do to self-isolate and might be, unknowingly, spreading the virus to their families and the wider community.
“If you have a cough or a fever then you must stay at home,” said Dr Elaine Lee Murphy of the Livinghealth Clinic in Mitchelstown.
She continued: “If you have those symptoms then contact your GP by telephone immediately. They will assess you over the phone and decide if you need to come into the surgery. You are likely to be told to self-isolate but It’s so important that you understand exactly what this means.
‘NO SHORTCUTS CAN BE TAKEN’
If asked to self-isolate, you should not leave your home under any circumstances. Doing so puts everyone at high risk of getting the virus. Someone else needs to bring you food and supplies leaving them outside your home for you to collect. As a community we need to help those who are self-isolating but absolutely no short cuts can be taken on this.”
And for those sharing their home with others, strict rules of self-isolation need to be adhered to.
“You must stay in a room on your own with the window open. Keep away from others within the home. Use your own towel, clean your room every day with disinfectant and wash your hands properly and often. If possible, use a toilet and bathroom that no one else in the house uses. Do not share cups, dishes, glasses or bedding. Others in the home will need to prepare food for you and leave in a safe place for you to collect,” explained Dr Lee Murphy.
And Dr Paddy Burke, Fermoy, explained that within the home its vital those self-isolating do not have direct contact with anyone else during this period.
He said: “If you are self-isolating then you cannot be in the same room as somebody for any length of time. Doing so puts them, and possibly the wider community, at high risk. Its estimated that around 80 percent of virus transmission in China came from close friends and family.”
Dr Burke said the actions we, as a community, take now are crucial.
“Look, we know this is difficult for everyone, but we need to get these basic things right to prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. If you have to self-isolate, and so many of us will, then remember it is for a 14-day period – from the day you first developed symptoms. Also, you must have had no fever for five days before ending self-isolation.”
GPs can send electronic social welfare certificates to those who are out of work because of self-isolation. These certificates will allow you to get payment from the government while you are unable to work.
A CHALLENGE FOR EVERYONE
Acknowledging that this is a stressful time for everybody, Dr Marty Moller of the Family First Practice in Fermoy told The Avondhu this week: “We understand how difficult this whole pandemic is for people. But remember if we do the right things and take the right precautions, we can slow the spread. This is a temporary measure and we are all in this together. We must support each other safely, be calm and focussed on the challenge which confronts us all.”
And on behalf of all GPs in Fermoy and Mitchelstown, he thanked the public for their understanding of the changes in services.
“We are so grateful to everyone for that understanding. And remember if you have a non Covid-19/coronavirus health issue, that will still be treated though how we conduct consultations has changed. So, we are using the telephone much more and video consultations may be available soon.
We, as a collective of local GPs, are trying our best to keep SouthDoc services in Fermoy. But for now, when surgeries are closed call the SouthDoc number and you’ll be advised of the next steps.
Thank you so much for your support, understanding and cooperation at this very challenging time.”
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