Independent Offaly county councillor Sean O'Brien has disassociated himself with a statement issued by the Council management on Monday in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Offaly County Council released the public notice after 30 new cases were confirmed in the county on Monday with the 14-day incidence rate for Offaly now standing at 424.6 per 100,000, well above the national average of 157.1.
In a statement, Offaly County Council said it "would like to acknowledge the enormous effort that the entire County has put into driving down the rate of Covid infection. We have successfully reduced the pressure on our health service, and we are
moving in the right direction, but we are at a crossroads. Infection rates remain relatively high in Offaly.
Cllr O'Brien has taken issue with the language used in the statement and has contacted council management to that effect.
He said: "I cannot associate myself with the press release issued today [Monday] concerning the Covid-19 situation in Offaly. Quotes such as "moving in the right direction", "making steady progress" and "we are seeing all the key indicators of the disease fall" do not reflect what the key national figures involved are saying or what the people feel.
"The Taoiseach stated today [Monday] the situation is "static"; NPHET stated that the situation is "volatile" and the HSE Lead for Infection Control, Professor Martin Corsican, stated that we could be headed for “another wave”.
"The statistics issued today for Offaly are very worrying and we are a national focus. I am requesting that we arrange a special meeting of the Council and invite the appropriate HSE personnel to address that meeting," Cllr O'Brien added.
Referring to the growing numbers in Offaly, Offaly County Council's own statement added: "We must also keep in mind that the variant of the virus which is now the most prevalent in the county is significantly more transmissible than the previous strain. The fact that we are making such steady progress is a testament to the effort you are making.
"However, we must make sure that we don’t experience a further surge of the virus before the benefits of the vaccine can be experienced. We don’t ever want to return to the scenes we had in January, the pressure on our health service and the very sad outcomes for many families.
"It has not been easy but we are getting there. Ireland is continuing to make good progress and are seeing all the key indicators of disease fall. The emerging data on vaccines is really promising. We are seeing gradual and careful progress towards re-opening our society"
The statement continued: "In Offaly, our best protection against this disease remains the trusted public health tools that we have been using effectively since last Spring. We know what works, we know how to do it and we know we can do it well. Maintain a social distance at all times, wear a face covering, do not mix with other households other than for essential reasons, wash your hands. Stay at home and stay safe.
"Offaly County Council advises that its service provision continues across all essential services. We continue to support service users while taking mitigating actions to keep the public and our employees safe. Services continue to be provided online, by post and over the phone. Details of these services are provided below and are available on our website www.offaly.ie."
"Our dedicated staff in our Community Call Centre are on duty from 8am to 8pm 7 days a week so please call in strictest confidence FREEPHONE 1800 81 81 81 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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