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23 Jan 2022

Kildare businesses call for clarity from Government as Covid-19 cases rise

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Local businesses in County Kildare have called for clarity from the government amid rising Covid-19 case numbers — as they face into the busiest trading period of the year before Christmas.
Naas-based County Kildare Chamber said the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors are trying to make the most of the pre-Christmas rush while carefully following public health guidelines.
However, Chamber chief executive Allan Shine said it is difficult to plan ahead without knowing if or when there will be restrictions coming down the line.
Newbridge GP Dr Brendan O’Shea said rising case numbers are “concerning” and strongly urged anybody not yet vaccinated to come forward to get the jab.

According to the most recent data up to November 8, Covid-19 case numbers in Kildare are still under the national average but surrounding counties such as Dublin, Wicklow, Laois and Carlow have higher figures and the fear is that increased mobility during the Christmas shopping season will see levels increase in the county.

Mr Shine told the Leader: “Rising numbers now on a near daily basis is causing huge concern for businesses.
“The mixed messages from Government and NPHET is a huge issue. It is having a direct impact on our members who are trying to operate their businesses and ensuring they are following the guidelines.
“It is extremely difficult for businesses operating in the tourism and hospitality sector to plan for the next few weeks when they are unsure if there will be restrictions announced to curtail activity.
“We need clarity and we need Government to lead on this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Newbridge-based GP, Dr Brendan O’Shea said he is very concerned about the rising level of Covid-19 infections.
Dr O’Shea, who is the PRO for the Kildare Faculty of the Irish Council of General Practitioners (ICGP), said people are also contracting seasonal illnesses at this time of year.
He said: “The number of Covid-19 cases are very concerning. Thankfully, the level of serious illness is not as high as last year due to inoculation but GP practices are very busy.”
Dr O’Shea, who runs the Bridge Medical Centre in Newbridge, also reiterated that anybody who is not yet vaccinated must come forward for the jab.
He urged anybody with Covid-19 symptoms to self-isolate and to book a test. In general, people must limit social contacts to an absolute minimum, he added.
The medical expert also advised anybody with a seasonal illness such as a head cold to exercise common sense and take plenty of fluids and regular paracetamol.
Nurse and trained vaccinator, Cllr Peggy O’Dwyer warned that vaccination alone is not going to take us out of this pandemic and she called on people to stick to public health protective guidelines like reducing social contacts, good hand hygiene wearing masks and social distancing.


She added: “Long-term planning is essential if we are to avoid restrictive measures again.
“We cannot be living on the number of cases in our hospitals and ICU as a means of going forward.
“The country as a whole is tired from this pandemic. If we did not have the high level of vaccinations I do not know where we would be.
“We know we have the ability to work together and the public have shown huge good will but we must avoid going back and create the balance with living with Covid-19 and changing the way we live.”
Up to Sunday evening, there were eight patients confirmed with Covid-19 at Naas Hospital with a further four suspected of having the virus.
However there were no Covid-19 patients in intensive care.
According to the HSE, there were three general beds available at Naas Hospital up to 8pm on Sunday evening while there was only one ICU bed.

Local rates
In the two-week period up to November 8, the big population areas of Naas and Newbridge recorded infection levels lower than the national average of 924.1 per 100,000.
The Naas LEA had 288 cases and a rate per 100,000 of 736.1 while the Newbridge LEA area had 199 cases or a rate per 100,000 of
560.8.
The Kildare town LEA had 232 case or a rate of 902.7 per 100,000 while the Clane LEA had 240 cases and a LEA rate per 100,000 of 807.3.

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