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08 Aug 2022

HSE teams up with council and gardai on Offaly Covid-19 advice

HSE teams up with council and gardai on Offaly Covid-19 advice

New advice from HSE, Offaly County Council and gardai

IN an unprecedented move, the HSE, Offaly County Council and the gardai today issued a joint statement of advice to people in the county.

“We acknowledge this has been a worrying and difficult time for everyone. The huge improvements

we have seen in nursing homes due to the vaccine shows that there are better days ahead and gives

us hope for the future,” said the statement.

“With a more infectious strain of Covid-19 circulating it is more vital than ever that we continue to

do all we can to protect ourselves, our families and loved ones, and our community over the coming

weeks.”

Specifically, the advice is -

• Please take care, stay safe and do not mix!

• Isolate immediately if you have symptoms, contact your GP and get tested for Covid-19

• Do not go to work if you have mild symptoms and keep your family at home until you

have the result of your test

• Avoid contact with extended family – protect the elderly and vulnerable who have yet to

be vaccinated

• Wear a mask in public and in shops at all times, and stay 2m apart

• Avoid gatherings and parties

• Please stay at home as much as possible

In the statement, released in the context of Offaly continuing to have the highest Covid-19 rate in the country, the authorities insisted there is no single cause for the ongoing spike in the county.

Offaly had 331 Covid-19 cases in the fortnight up to midnight on Sunday, March 21, making its rate six times higher than Laois, three times higher than Westmeath and one-and-a-half times the rate in Longford.

An outbreak at the M&A's creche and Montessori school in Tullamore, where eight staff and at least 12 children tested positive, has placed renewed pressure on public health authorities to provide an explanation for the Offaly figures.

Also this week, a number of parents said there were positive cases in at least four Tullamore primary schools and entire classes had been sent home.

The HSE, Offaly County Council and An Garda Siochana joint statement acknowledged Offaly has high rates of infection compared to other counties.

“Outbreaks are occurring in a wide range of settings including workplaces, crèches, factories, families and within vulnerable communities,” the statement said.

“No one setting, incident or outbreak is driving the numbers – all of these events are contributing to

the rate of illness.

“When this happens it can be an extremely stressful time for a facility, business, family or community.

“Covid-19 is spread from person to person and details on individual cases or on outbreaks cannot be

provided in order to protect people’s privacy.

“The protection measures are the same, regardless of where the cases are located.

“It is really important for Co Offaly to reverse the rate of infection and reduce the numbers of

new cases occurring in our community. Everybody has a part to play and now is not the time to

become complacent.

“Just as there isn’t one cause, there isn’t one solution.

“The HSE, Offaly County Council and An Garda Siochana are today appealing to the whole community to please renew their effort to prevent Covid illness and to hold firm while waiting for your vaccine.”

Cllr Danny Owens, chair of the Tullamore Municipal District, which had the highest Covid rate in the country according to the latest fortnightly statistics, said he hoped the figures can be forced down if people adhere to public health advice.

The Fianna Fail councillor said: “I ask people to be vigilant in the coming days and weeks. We have to try and break this cycle and I would encourage everybody to stay at home when they can.

“Tullamore cannot be left behind and Offaly cannot be left behind in any reassessment of the situation nationally.”

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