The Crisis Management Team co-ordinating all HSE services across the South East in the fight to identify, contain and stop the spread of Covid 19 has appealed to the general public to continue adhering to the public health guidelines.
The Chair of the CMT, Kate Killeen White (Chief Officer, South East Community Healthcare) has also thanked all healthcare staff and their families, patients and their families, the many statutory and voluntary bodies active in the effort and those working in essential businesses at this time. The HSE is especially proud of staff at all levels for their commitment and dedication as we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The South East’s HSE Crisis Management Team (CMT) includes participation from University Hospital Waterford and South Tipperary General Hospital (of the South/South West Hospital Group) and Wexford General Hospital and St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny (of the Ireland East Hospital Group). The South East’s Public Health Dept., National Ambulance Services and Emergency Management, Environmental Health officers and the HSE’s estates (technical services, property and maintenance) and procurement (equipment and supplies) services are also involved – in addition to South East Community Healthcare (which delivers community/primary care, health and wellbeing, elderly and disability care and mental health services).
The CMT wishes to assure communities in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford that extensive preparations for the impact of Covid-19 on services are in place. This includes:
· Increasing bed capacity across the entire healthcare system inclusive of ICU beds, acute beds, transitional and step-down care beds.
· Putting in place arrangements to open self-isolation facilities should they be needed (the HSE will update the public in the South East about these facilities shortly).
· Establishing five main testing centres across the region (with additional facilities available if required).
· Supporting Community response forums set up by the five local authorities.
· Planning to provide community assessment hubs, which will begin to open this week. These facilities will support members of the public with Covid-19 whose GP has determined they need a medical examination.
· Working with private hospitals in Waterford and Kilkenny to increase bed capacity in the acute hospital system and ensuring critical services continue to be provided.
Speaking, as Ireland enters what she sees as a critical phase in the battle against the coronavirus, the CMT Chair Kate Killeen White said:
“Community and individual actions are vital to reducing the spread of virus. My acute hospital and public health colleagues want to impress upon everyone that this is a matter of life or death. As outlined at www.hse.ie/coronavirus, there are simple but very effective steps we all must take each and every day. They include:
- Staying at home as much as possible.
- Washing your hands properly and often.
- Reducing the number of people you met and interact with each day.
- Avoiding large groups or crowded areas and do not travel more than two kilometres from home.
- Maintaining a distance of two metres with other people.
- Working at home.
“The over 70s and extremely medically vulnerable people should stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. Even within the home, they should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of the household. Ask family, carers or neighbours for help to ensure you have the support you need. Employers of essential workers should enable and facilitate physical distancing between employees and other measures. If sick, especially with fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms, do not go to work, stay at home, phone your doctor.”
“These simple actions work. I know they can be difficult for people at times but it is absolutely vital we follow the advice – it gives us all a chance to meet this unprecedented challenge.”