“Positive Covid-19 cases are all around us,” said local GPs in the Fermoy and Mitchelstown area this week, as speculation increases that restrictions are to be reduced next month.
They are concerned that people are becoming less attentive to key measures such as social distancing and frequent hand washing as the weeks go by.
“There are positive cases in every town – I think some people feel our area is escaping this pandemic but we are not,” said Dr Martin Gorman of the Fermoy Rathcormac Medical Practice.
While GPs have commended the community for its general adherence to health guidance and rules, they fear a level of complacency starting to roll into areas such as ours.
Dr Gorman added: “Positive cases are being diagnosed in North Cork just as they are everywhere else. Just because you haven’t heard of Covid-19 cases in your area doesn’t mean they’re not there. So please, please don’t take it upon yourself to take any risks.”
How could you know?
And Dr Carol Collins of the Family First Clinic in Fermoy added that everyone must realise how difficult it can be to initially identify someone with the virus.
“Sometimes it can be very tricky for us to know if someone has Covid-19 before their test result have come back. So, if that’s the case for us how could anyone in the general public know better?
“Remember, many people will not display any symptoms and yes they could be the person in the shopping aisle beside you, filling up at the petrol station near you, the child cycling their bike by you or the person walking past you on the street. We have to continue to take every precaution every day.”
She continued: “If you feel fine, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the virus and could be a carrier. So, you must act and take decisions as though you have the virus for the protection of everybody else.”
While we’re seeing more runners and cyclists on our roads during the current restrictions, GPs want those taking exercise to be very aware of the need to maintain adequate social distancing from other members of the public.
Dr Joe Moran of Fermoy said: “If you’re out running, within your 2km radius, please make sure to give plenty of space to others you meet. Cross the street if its safe to do so when you see someone oncoming and remember that others can feel particularly anxious if a runner or cyclist is coming towards them at speed.
“It’s really a time when common sense needs to be used in every situation out of respect for others.”
While there have been reports this week suggesting some GPs have not been engaging with nursing homes in other parts of the country during the crisis, that is clearly not in case in Fermoy and Mitchelstown – as reported last week in The Avondhu.
“As a group of GPs we devised a strategy early on,” explained Dr Jack Griffin of the Livinghealth Clinic in Mitchelstown.
He continued: ”Even though patients in nursing homes continue to be looked after by their own GP, there is now one dedicated GP to each nursing home who will have an overview of the situation on the ground and who will support the director of nursing there.
“Testing of all staff and residents in nursing homes will take place over the next ten days and is welcome news as it’s the best way of getting a clear picture of Covid-19 in residential settings.”
Surgeries in the area are getting busier each week, meaning more people are contacting their GPs with non-Covid-19 ailments and queries.
It’s key that those with ongoing, long-term conditions which are not under adequate control, such as diabetes, asthma or COPD, stay in regular touch with their GPs during the pandemic.
And there is more positive news in that private hospitals, such as the Bon Secours in Cork city, are now being used to treat public patients should hospitalisation be required for non-Covid-19 issues.
However, hospitals such as CUH, have seen patients turning up at their Accident and Emergency departments with serious injuries as a result of non-urgent DIY work in the home and GPs have urged caution if working on projects which could endanger your health.
For all the information you need on Covid-19/coronavirus and how to self-isolate 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.