Thanking the people of Fermoy, Mitchelstown and the surrounding areas for their cooperation and diligence in recent weeks, GPs in the area have also warned against complacency as the number of Covid-19 cases nationally grows day-by-day.
“From what we have seen, so far, compliance in our area has been high. People are hearing the public health messages clearly, practising social distancing and following the advice. We’ve been so encouraged that people have heeded the messages and are taking responsibility not just for themselves – but each other,” explained Dr Deirdre O’Grady of the Family First Clinic in Fermoy.
GPs in the area are expecting the number of positive cases, and suspected cases, to increase in the coming days and weeks – and have prepared for the expected surge.
“We feel we have sufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) for now,” explained Dr Catherine Clifford, adding “We’ve even sourced equipment from local hardware stores. We, as GP practices, have been stocking up on what we need but so much will depend on the size of the surge in our towns, villages and communities.”
Supermarkets and pharmacies remain the main places where people are coming in contact with those from outside their units.
Dr Clifford, of the Park Clinic in Fermoy, said: “If you are aged 70 or over you must cocoon at home. If you need shopping or medication then someone else, not in an at-risk category, will have to get these for you.
“In the town of Fermoy a list of volunteers who will deliver vital items can be found at www.facebook.com/FermoyForum/ . Also, many shops and pharmacies will deliver to older patients and those at risk.”
If planning to collect a prescription from any pharmacy in our area please ring ahead. This will ensure you spend no more time in the pharmacy than you need to.
Don’t neglect your general health
It’s vital too that members of the public do not neglect their general health during this crisis.
Dr Laura Lane of the Living Health Clinic in Mitchelstown told The Avondhu: “Just because this virus is present in our communities doesn’t mean all other health issues have gone away. We are concerned that some people are not contacting us with serious medical problems which need attention. Don’t ignore these. GP practices are operating differently BUT WE ARE STILL HERE FOR YOU.
“We will always start a consultation by telephone or video, perhaps asking you to send us pictures or a blood pressure reading at home if possible, but we can still treat you and issue prescriptions. Most consultations can take place without you having to set foot in the doctor’s surgery – but if we have to physically examine you we will.”
There is a fear amongst all doctors that people are not seeking help when they need it for non-Covid19 ailments – some potentially leading to life threatening outcomes such as strokes or heart attacks.
GPs have also stressed that baby vaccines and ante-natal care are still considered essential and advise parents to contact their surgeries to arrange these.
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.