COVID QUERIES Doctors 'inundated' with calls from parents over Coronavirus concerns
DOCTORS have been flooded with calls from anxious parents confused by the health guidelines as children returned to school.
Cavan-based GP Dr Illona Duffy said that doctors all over the country were "inundated" with calls early last week.
"It's a very short learning curve not only for parents but also for the schools and there's a huge amount of anxiety," she told the Sunday World.
She suggested that the health service use the schools to send parents the correct details about who has to get tested and when to self isolate.
"It's about trying to get the message out there, what to be worried about and what not to be worried about and how to handle the different situations," she said.
"While the HSE have a lot of advice on their website I think it's a busy website; it's hard sometimes to find what you want to find and parents are finding it hard to find the bits that are relevant to them," added Dr Duffy.
The situation isn't helped by the fact that children pick up viral infections at this time of year when they return to school.
"We know that normally at this time of the year when children go back we are going to see a rise in normal viral illness."
"When you think about the fact that many of these children haven't been mixing with other children for almost six months, therefore haven't met any of these viruses, they will probably have lost some of their natural immunity.
"We're definitely going to see a spike in a viral sense," Dr Duffy said.
A child with symptoms needs to be tested and that could mean being tested more than once over a number of weeks, she said.
"We know we are going to find many situations like this arising - you may find next month your child gets another temperature or a cough and you have to do the same all over again.
"It's probably an evolving situation and we'll probably see some changes in the guidelines in that there's a difference in guidelines in the under 13s and the over 13s," Dr Duffy said.
Meanwhile, the Government has said it intends to announce a long-term plan for living with virus outbreaks.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government would have no hesitation in implementing restrictions specific to Dublin if needed to slow down the increase in coronavirus cases in the city.
Speaking on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta yesterday, he said the Government had learned from the local restrictions imposed on Kildare, Laois and Offaly.
The "important thing about Dublin is how to get to grips with the virus to lower the number of cases and to put pressure on the virus", Mr Martin said.
He added that the 'Living with Covid' plan "has flexibility from that side - we can assess the situation from county to county.
"The very highest level of restrictions is to implement measures on a national basis."
The Taoiseach added that research shows the pandemic "has had a terrible impact on physical and mental health".
"We need to focus on that… so we're considering people's lifestyles, and we're looking at that in terms of sport and culture, we have to make exceptions and tailored plans for those sectors in this country."
The sudden change in the rise and fall in cases of the virus has seen the UK pass out Ireland again in the average number of cases over the last two weeks.
The ECDC latest data shows that Ireland's 14-day incidence of Covid-19 is now 40.6 cases for every 100,000 people.
The UK is at 45.1 Italy 32.1 Germany 21.1 while France is 143.7 and Spain has the highest rate at 270.7 cases for every 100,000 people.
Acting Chief Medial Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Friday that the incidence rate in Dublin is at 78, and appealed to people to limit their contact with others.
Yesterday evening, it was announced that two more people have died as a result of Covid-19, while 159 new cases were detected.
Dr Glynn said "47 per cent of the cases reported today are in Dublin City and County".
"For the people of Dublin in particular, this is a critical moment to address the spread of the disease in the community.
Individual choices can make all the difference - reconsider your plans for the weekend, reduce the number of people that you meet and avoid social activities that involve large groups of people," he said.
The Government is due to reveal its five-level plan for living with the virus next week.
These will include restrictions on how many people can visit a family home, with suggestions that no more than 10 people from three households will be allowed to.
The restrictions hit traditional family gatherings such as birthdays, christenings, communions and will still be in place at Christmas.
The Government wants to see gatherings being held in controlled settings such as a pubs hotels and restaurants. All pubs will be open when the lowest level of restrictions are in force in any region, with up 100 people allowed to gather.