While it had been a concerning couple of weeks for the local community there is encouraging news in terms of new positive cases of Covid-19.
“We are relieved that local GPs have seen a significant decrease in the number of new positive results over the last week,” explained Dr Sura Aldeen of the Fermoy-Rathcormac Medical Practice.
She added: “We are optimistic that adherence to the Public Health advice, in terms of infected people isolating, restricted movements by their known contacts and equally importantly, the two metre distancing and handwashing by everyone else, appears to have been effective in minimising the spread locally.”
Accurate, verified information
And key to that success has been the cohesive approach taken by communities in the affected areas.
Pivotal in that approach has been accurate and clearly delivered messaging – though as Dr Gareth Linehan of the Livinghealth Clinic in Mitchelstown explains, some can still be influenced by fake or misleading posts and other forms of communications relating to local outbreaks.
He said: “The rapid sharing of information through social media, and via smartphones, has been very helpful in some respects but has also meant that inaccurate information has also spread widely. This can be due to simple misunderstanding, an unproven opinion being passed off as fact or, in some cases, deliberate malicious intent.”
Dr Linehan continued: “We’re learning about Covid-19 all the time, how it is passed from one person to another, how it might be treated, uncommon symptoms and which activities are higher or lower risk. Because this virus is so new, we all try to keep up with the situation as it evolves.
“So, we urge you to use trusted sources – this is why we are keen to share what we are learning with you weekly in The Avondhu, as well as the national newspapers, radio and television news. Please don’t become part of the problem by being careful to avoid passing on information that is not verified and can ultimately be alarming, dangerous or hurtful.”
And with every passing week the ability to test and trace, locally and nationally, is improving. This will be especially vital as our societies continue to open up, as Dr Carol Collins of the Family First Clinic in Fermoy explains:
“As our activities gradually resume, without a vaccine or proven treatment for Covid-19, we will be very dependent on the efficiency of the testing and tracing system to contain the spread of the virus.”
She continued: “Most test results are now back within two-days of testing. This is a massive improvement on previous turnaround times. People should have no hesitation in getting tested if they have symptoms. Remember your own symptoms might be very mild but you need to be sure whether you have coronavirus for the sake of others.
“You need to be sure that you are not passing the virus to someone else who might get seriously unwell. If a person tests negative they can return to work 48 hours after their symptoms resolve – so the 98% who are testing negative are not isolating for long at all.”
Reliable reporting of contacts
And Dr Charlie McCarthy of the Park Clinic, Fermoy said contact tracing has improved but urged people to list all contacts if asked to do so.
He said: “The contacts of somebody with Covid-19, whether they have symptoms or not, are now tested, usually twice, so we have much more confidence in the system to be able to identify infection and stop its onward spread. The effectiveness of this approach is very dependent on reliable reporting of contacts to Public Health.
“We would encourage anyone testing positive to be totally comprehensive in identifying who they could have passed the virus to. We all need to understand the need to ‘test test test’ to keep Covid-19 at bay.”
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.