Kildare County Council, Kildare Gardaí and the HSE Community Healthcare agency have issued a plea to the people of Kildare to increase their efforts to combat Covid-19 in the county.
The appeal was issued in the wake of a meeting between senior management from Kildare County Council, An Garda Síochána and the HSE on Wednesday to review the inter-agency collaboration during the recent period of enhanced restrictions imposed on the county.
The meeting was held behind closed doors, but Kildare County Council's press office issued a statement afterwards on behalf of Kildare Mayor Mark Stafford and the agencies.
The statement said that, during the lockdown, using the structures of the Major Emergency Management Framework assisted the coordination between the organisations. Each agency had learned some lessons that will assist with virus-related challenges Kildare is likely to face this winter.
The statement said that test centres in the region were discussed with particular focus on the Kildare Test Centre based at Punchestown Racecourse. "This centre will continue to operate and is coping well with the rising demand for testing in County Kildare. In the period of 24 August to 22 September the centre completed 8,612 Covid-19 tests, with 2,846 tests carried out in the past week."
Appealing for a greater public effort to combat Covid-19, the statement said: "Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the people of Kildare have responded with incredible resilience, community spirit and an overwhelming commitment to the various national and regional restrictions imposed on the residents of the County. We have changed how we live our lives in an effort to fight this virus and protect our society."
Kildare is currently at Level 2 on the Government's Living with Covid framework.
To stop this escalating, Kildare people should be:
* Reducing the number of people that we meet indoors;
* Avoiding crowds or situations where large groups come together;
In the coming weeks prioritise the people that you need to see, meeting them regularly rather than meeting lots of people from different households.
* When you do meet people, remember to adhere to Public Health advice – maintain social distance, if appropriate where a face covering, use good cough or sneezing etiquette and wash your hands frequently.
"With the winter season approaching and the rising levels of Covid-19 in our society, it is now vital that all the people of Kildare, the businesses in our County, all our schools, our various community groups and our many sports and social clubs work harder than ever to keep the levels of this virus as low as possible. We have seen in recent months that when we follow public guidance, we can reduce the levels of Covid-19 in Kildare. We know what works, now we must continue those good practices," said the agency statement.
"On an individual level, if you have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, take action. Isolate yourself from other people and contact your GP for further advice. Covid-19 consultations and tests are free, and you do not need to be registered with a GP. If in doubt seek medical advice."
Throughout the pandemic the Community Call helpline has been a very useful resource for the people of Kildare, the helpline continues to provide advice and support throughout this difficult period and can be contacted at 1800 300 174.
Despite this effort and commitment Covid-19 has not gone away. The Government has developed a framework for living with the virus which can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/. Kildare is currently placed at level 2 on this framework and the current objective is to keep Kildare at this level, while working towards level 1. To do this the people of Kildare must now refocus, ensuring that we all follow the Public Health advice and continue to adhere to all the relevant restrictions.
Update on Multi-agency meeting held on Wednesday 23 September
A multi-agency meeting was held on Wednesday 23 September, with