Cork can save lives by slowing the spread of Covid-19 but it will take a massive effort from the entire community.
That’s the message from leaders across the city and county, who today joined together to appeal to the public to continue to heed messages on social distancing, hand hygiene and other advice from the HSE.
An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council continue working together through long standing Major Emergency Framework Structures to prepare and respond to the needs of our communities.
Today’s joint message from the Lord Mayor of Cork city, the Mayor of Cork County, HSE experts and senior Gardai is clear – everyone must play a role in the days ahead to defend Cork against the spread of Covid-19.
HSE management said they have been over-whelmed by the support from the people of Cork to date.
Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Ger Reaney thanked the people of Cork for their incredible support of all healthcare staff.
‘We have been overwhelmed not just by the response of our own staff, but of the wider public. We cannot thank you enough for the offers of accommodation, time, and support for healthcare workers. It is very clear to us that all of Cork is behind us and we are in this together. People have asked us what they can do to help, and the best thing you can do now to strictly follow all the advice on social distancing; staying at home if you are unwell, washing your hands and catching your coughs and sneezes.’
Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO of South South West Hospital Group said:
‘South South West Hospital Group would like to reassure all the people in Cork and the surrounding region that we are working non-stop to deal with the impact of Covid-19. Every possible arrangement is being made and we would like to thank the public for their continued support in these unprecedented times. The SSWHG is very proud of our dedicated staff and how they have responded to this challenge. The best way to support them in the coming days is to keep your distance from each other and stay at home if you are unwell. We have one opportunity to do the right thing.’
Dr Augustine Pereira, director of Public Health for HSE South explained the efforts which all HSE services are involved in, and thanked the public for their support.
‘There has been a huge demand for testing, however it's important to note that if you do not have any symptoms testing at that time is ineffective.
‘We are working non-stop on contact tracing; making contact with everyone who has been in close or casual contact with someone who is a confirmed case of Covid-19. People have worked with us on self-isolation when advised, which goes a long way to keep the entire community safe. Now, we need everyone to take the advice on social distancing, hand-washing, and respiratory etiquette. If we have any chance to halt the spread of the virus, this is absolutely critical. I know that Cork people will work together to keep everyone safe and I want to thank them for this incredible effort. Everyone can play a part and everyone has a duty to do so.’
The Lord Mayor of Cork city Cllr John Sheehan added his support to the response.
‘As a general practitioner and a public servant it brings me great pride to see our health service, emergency services and local authorities all pulling together to defeat this virus and to bring hope to our communities in this tough time. COVID-19 knows no county bounds, so unity in our response to it is essential. Unity can triumph over fear. Unity means remembering to wash your hands as we’ve been taught, it’s disposing of tissues properly, it’s sneezing into your elbow when the tissues run out. It’s remembering to keep the surfaces at work clean and most poignantly with Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s getting your ‘smallies’ to facetime Granny to keep her spirits up when really they want to run into her arms.
‘Social distancing, though hard for us all, is a short-term measure for the good of everyone in Cork and beyond. We appeal to all of Cork to join this effort. We have one chance to get this right. It’s literally “in our hands”. I know that Cork people will work together to keep everyone safe and I want to thank them for this incredible effort,’ he added.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle said:
‘One thing that this crisis has laid bare is how close and connected we all are. All of us need to be there for each other and the best way we can do this is by observing social distancing. This Sunday is Mother’s day, a day where we take time to show gratitude and appreciation for others in our lives. We make small sacrifices to show our love. This Mother’s Day will be like no other, on behalf of the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters of County Cork and beyond, I implore you to keep a distance of two metres between you and others, don’t interact with people outside of your work or home unnecessarily and please stay away from large gatherings and situations where you might be at risk of breaking social distance. We are all in this together and what you do this weekend will protect your family, your community and beyond.’
Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station, Chief Supt Barry McPolin said:
‘All units of An Garda Síochána are committed to and continue to support communities to reduce the impact of COVID 19. We have restructured the deployment of our resources so we have the personnel available to respond to the policing needs of our community. Cork city and county will see an allocation of 34 newly attested probationer Gardaí and eight Gardaí from the Garda College to assist in policing and responding to the policing needs of our community.
‘We don't want vulnerable people to put themselves at risk. If any member of the public is in need of assistance, don’t be afraid to call your local Garda station.’