HSE North East appeal to public to 'keep their guard up'

The Department of Public Health, HSE North East, is appealing to the public to keep their guard up to support our hospitals and healthcare services as we continue the fight against COVID-19.

They are urging everyone to continue to adhere to the public health advice and say, together, we can turn the tide on the COVID-19 pandemic. The resurgence of COVID-19 in recent months has impacted greatly on our health service.

Dr Keith Ian Quintyne, specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: “What we have experienced in the last few months is how fast COVID-19 can spread and the consequences that it can have for our hospitals, healthcare systems, and our local communities.

“The number of cases in the community have started to decrease and our concern is that people will start to drop their guard. Our hospitals are under sustained pressure to provide care in challenging circumstances, we are asking the public to continue to support our hospitals by following the public health advice; staying at home, keeping a physical distance of two metres, wearing a mask, frequently washing hands, and adhering to proper cough and sneeze etiquette.”

Dr Augustine Pereira, director of Public Health HSE North East, commented: “It is important to reassure the public, that the vaccines are effective against the new strain. All viruses mutate and change, which can lead to new strains of the virus emerging. The new variants of COVID-19 from UK, which is now the dominant strain in Ireland, suggests that they are more transmissible than other strains.

“If you have travelled from any of the high-risk countries, you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival into Ireland, even if your COVID-19 test after arrival has not detected Covid-19. We must all continue to adhere to the public health advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as it is the best protection we have against all strains of this virus.

“There is hope, the vaccination roll-out provides the long-term hope and the current restrictions offer the opportunity to shorten the duration of the current wave”, he added.

More information and advice on COVID-19 is available at www.hse.ie/coronavirus or visit https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/