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'Horrendous' Much-loved Mayo nurse dies suddenly at home after recent Covid-19 diagnosis

Tributes paid to “kind, professional nurse who looked after people so well”

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Bernie McAndrew (57) died suddenly in her home

Bernie McAndrew (57) died suddenly in her home

Bernie McAndrew (57) died suddenly in her home

The sudden death of a much loved nurse in Belmullet, Co Mayo, has stunned the local community who are grappling with a crippling Covid-19 infection rate.

Bernie McAndrew (57) died suddenly at home after she and her husband Ian were diagnosed with Covid-19 last week.

An active golfer and community worker, Ms McAndrew’s tragic death is another horrific illustration of the cruel cost of Covid-19.

The Irish Independent understands Mr McAndrew was rushed to hospital moments after his wife was pronounced dead.

Neighbours and friends of the popular couple looked on in desperation as Bernie’s body was removed from the house as an ambulance waited to transfer Ian to hospital.

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle broke down in tears as he spoke of the community’s horror at the tragic events.

“We are all heartbroken. I’d be very friendly with Ian and I stood across the road and I saw the hearse leaving out the gate and the ambulance was waiting to back in and bring him.

“It’s just horrendous,” he said.

“Nobody knew what to do, we couldn’t go in. Her friends were there and we couldn’t give Ian a hug and tell him we were there for him.

“He won’t be able to go to her funeral. It’s just horrendous, everyone is just stunned.

“Bernie was loved in this community.

“She was a kind, professional nurse who looked after people so well and respectfully.

“She was never in a rush, even when she was working she would always make time for everyone. She wouldn’t make you feel like you weren’t important.

“Herself and Ian are the finest people in the world and we are heartbroken for them.”

Ms McAndrew worked for many years as a nurse in Belmullet Community Hospital

She retired two years ago and most recently worked for a local doctor.

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Bernie McAndrew

Bernie McAndrew

Bernie McAndrew

Tributes to the highly-respected nurse flooded social media.

Belmullet Golf Club described their former Lady Captain as a person “full of integrity” and said: “The whole community has been rocked by news of her death.

“It was with profound sadness and deep, deep shock that we heard the news this morning of the passing of last year's Lady Captain Bernie McAndrew.

“A quiet lady, full of discretion and integrity, Bernie served as Lady Captain in 2004 and again last year, 2020.

“She was a great club representative, having served in many roles in the ladies club throughout the years.

“She will be missed by so many people, particularly by her husband Ian, her own family, her in-laws and by her wide circle of work and golfing friends.

“The whole community has been rocked by the news of her death.

“May her very gentle soul rest in peace.”

The rapidly spreading UK variant of Covid-19 is feared to be behind a significant infection surge in Co Mayo.

The latest figures from the Republic's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), released last Thursday, show that one in every 50 people in Belmullet had contracted Covid-19 over the previous 14-day period.

Belmullet has the highest individual incidence rate in any local electoral area in the State, with 266 positive cases in a population of 12,600, or 2,111.0 cases per 100,000.

Dr Breda Smyth, director of public health in the west, described Mayo's infection rate as "really worrying".

She said the 14-day incidence had increased dramatically, particularly in Ballyhaunis, Ballina, Belmullet, Castlebar, and Claremorris.

"In the two weeks between December 21 and January 3, there were 862 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mayo," said Dr Smyth.

"When we look more closely at the data, we can see a steep increase in the number of confirmed cases in the county since December 26.

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