HSE Public Health North East message to stay at home

February 1, 2021: HSE Public Health North East, An Garda Síochána, Louth and Meath County Councilurge the public to stay at home and protect our communities.

The Department of Public Health North East, An Garda Síochána, Louth and Meath County Councils are appealing to the people of Louth and Meath to exert extra efforts in tackling COVID-19 in their communities, to continue to abide by the restrictions by staying at home and following public health advice to stop the spread of the virus.

 11,764 COVID-19 cases were reported in the North East in 2020 (up to 31/12/2020). Our provisional data indicates that 12,463 COVID-19 cases were reported in the region since the beginning of this year (up to 30/01/2021). There have been more cases reported in January 2021, than in the whole of 2020.

 In the last 14 days (up to 30/01/2021), there have been 950 new cases of COVID-19 in Louth and 985 cases in Meath.

 Dr Augustine Pereira, Director of Public Health North East said, “We are seeing a slight decrease in daily infection rates. When the number of new COVID-19 casesdecrease, our natural inclination is to drop our guard, which leads to more cases in the community. So long as COVID-19 remains widespread in our community, it continues to present a high risk for our vulnerable population, particularly those in our hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”

 “This latest surge of COVID-19 infections in the community is putting greater pressure on our health services across the region. As our health services treat a significant number of patients with COVID-19, it is essential, now more than ever, that we continue to play our part to bring the infection rates down to suppress the spread of this virus.”

 “Whilst it seems that this virus is relentless, there is a brighter horizon ahead. The vaccine is currently being rolled out in nursing homes and amongst frontline healthcare workers across the region, for now we need to hold firm” he added.

 Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy of the Meath Garda Division said, “An Garda Síochána are encouraging the public to stay at home unless their journey is essential. Under the current regulations, a driver found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations can be fined, and in addition their adult passengers can also be fined. This is also the case for adults in groups undertaking activities such as cycling or walking, every adult in such a group can be fined.”

“The vast majority of people are complying with the non-essential travel regulations and public health advice. We thank them for that” he said.

“While everyone is finding the restrictions difficult, it is even more difficult for those who have suffered loss at this time. Currently, funerals are limited to 10 mourners. There is a concern that there are significant numbers of people coming together on these sad occasions. Priority has to be given to the families themselves at funerals. It is important to remember that every contact increases the risk of transmission of this highly contagious virus. Although it is difficult we must seek to express our condolences in a different way to reduce the spread of the virus.”

 Chief Superintendent for the Louth Garda Division, Christy Mangan added, “An Garda Síochána continues to conduct static and mobile checkpoints, as well as high visibility patrolling focused on non-essential travel in support of the Stay Home/Stay Safe message.”

 “Since Monday January 11, An Garda Síochána can prosecute breaches of travel restrictions under COVID-19 Regulations by means of a €100 Fixed Payment Notice. These measures are in place to support the public health guidance. The best way for people to protect themselves and others is to stay at home, and continue following the public health advice." 

 “Before getting in the car consider whether your journey is essential. We know it is particularly difficult for those who feel vulnerable or isolated. An Garda Síochána are here to help. Gardaí in Louth and around the country continue to help people with everyday tasks like collecting prescriptions and doing shopping. If you need help or know someone who does, please contact your local Garda station.”

 Chief Executive of Meath County Council, Jackie Maguire said, “I recognise that there is a heightened sense of anxiety regarding the current rates of transmission, but this needs to be turned into a positive. The virus will continue to challenge us and we need to have the right mind-set to deal with this challenge. I urge every resident of Meath to now see yourself as on the frontline in preventing the spread of the virus. To really consider the actions you take – so that you stay safe and those around you stay safe. Please follow the guidelines regarding face masks, hand hygiene and stay at home and not travel, unless it is essential.”

 Louth County Council has recently launched a social media campaign to encourage everyone to adhere to public health advice. Joan Martin, Chief Executive said, “We all have a role to play in reducing the strain on our hospitals and healthcare facilities. I would encourage the people of Louth to follow all public health advice, stay at home and stay safe.  Remember that our Community Call Helpline is available to those who need assistance, 1800 805 817 (available 9am – 5pm daily) or by email covidsupport@louthcoco.ie.”

 he most important action we can take to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19 is to follow the public health advice: - stay at home, other than for essential reasons - ensure regular hand washing - practice good respiratory hygiene - keep 2m between yourself and other people - avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth - wear a mask

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/surveillance/covid-19outbreaksclustersinireland/