| 14.3°C Dublin

Public health teams tackling huge Covid-19 outbreaks, says HSE chief

Stricter restrictions limiting visits to households nationwide came into effect on Friday for four weeks in a bid to combat the virus.

Close

HSE CEO, Paul Reid has appealed to people to take responsibility for their actions (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

HSE CEO, Paul Reid has appealed to people to take responsibility for their actions (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

HSE CEO, Paul Reid has appealed to people to take responsibility for their actions (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

The chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has pleaded with people to look at their own actions as public health teams try to manage “huge outbreaks” of Covid-19.

Paul Reid said more than 100,000 tests for the virus were conducted last week and more people are now in critical care beds in hospitals across the country.

Mr Reid added healthcare workers wanted him to make the plea.

“Our public health teams are managing huge outbreaks,” he said.

“We’ve tested over 100,000 last week. We’ve put more ICU beds in.

“I plead, let’s all stop looking elsewhere and now to ourselves. We owe it to our healthcare workers. That’s what they ask me to ask you. Let’s do it.”

His comments follow stricter restrictions coming into effect for four weeks in a bid to combat the virus.

Counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan have been moved to level four restrictions under the Government’s five-tier Covid response plan.

The measures were introduced at midnight.

It comes after 1,205 more cases of Covid-19 and three more deaths linked to the virus were confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Thursday.

The chief medical officer warned on Thursday that the situation is “rapidly deteriorating”.

Dr Tony Holohan expressed “extreme concern” at the increased spread of the virus over the last week in particular.

Close

Dr Tony Holohan said there is ‘potentially an acceleration’ in Covid-19 cases (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Tony Holohan said there is ‘potentially an acceleration’ in Covid-19 cases (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Dr Tony Holohan said there is ‘potentially an acceleration’ in Covid-19 cases (Brian Lawless/PA)

Stricter measures for households mean nobody is allowed to visit other people’s homes and gardens except on compassionate grounds or essential reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or those who live alone.

In Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, level four restrictions mean non-essential retail and personal services have had to close.

No more than 25 people can attend a funeral service and as of Monday a maximum of six people can attend a wedding.

Cafes, pubs serving food and restaurants can only serve a maximum of 15 people outside.

The measures will be in place until November 10.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the Government will consider in detail any new recommendations from the Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

No meeting has yet been arranged.

“The key message coming forward from Nphet, and it’s the same message that’s coming from the Government as well, is that everybody taking responsibility here is what is required to drive cases down,” Mr McConalogue told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“It is possible within level three to supress cases and bring them down but only if people actually follow the advice that’s asked of them.

“And unfortunately while the vast majority have, and while the business community has been making tremendous efforts to make sure their environments are safe and compliant, not everyone in the community has been responsible.”

Dr Holohan said on Thursday that the number of positive cases over the past week increased by 82% compared with the previous seven days, from 3,514 to 6,382.

He added there is “no improvement and potentially an acceleration” in the situation and that levels of transmission are now so high it is not possible to find the source of the virus in many cases.

Online Editors