28 April 2020
By Mary Bermingham
There’s no bank holiday from Covid-19
The bank holiday weekend isn’t a break from the hard work of dealing with Covid-19, front-line public sector workers in Cork have warned.
Staff from the HSE, An Garda Siochana and Cork County Council joined together this week for a photo demonstrating that they’re standing together – but still apart – in the county’s battle to keep Covid-19 at bay.
Doctors, nurses, health care support assistants, Garda, fire service personnel and representatives from Cork County Council and Cork City Council came together with one main message – asking the people of Cork to keep up their Trojan efforts.
Many of the frontline workers had their own messages for the people of Cork.
Nora Mary O’Riordan, a Health Care Support Assistant (home help), asked everyone to continue to stick to the latest guidelines.
“We’re working so hard to make sure that essential services keep running despite the impact of Covid-19. Today, we’re asking the people of Cork to support our efforts by continuing to stay at home where possible, and following all other guidelines. Sadly, the more we move around, the more risk we create.”
Marie Therese Buckley, a staff nurse at the new Covid-19 Community Assessment Hub at St. Mary’s Campus said that everyone’s hard work to date in flattening the curve could be easily undermined if we become complacent:
“We know that at this stage it’s getting very hard to stay apart. With a bank holiday weekend coming up, it will be very tempting to think that it’s ok to bend the rules. Unfortunately, the risk of catching Covid-19 is still high and we still need everyone’s support. Everything you have done so far has made a huge difference – but it could all be undermined so quickly. Together, we have achieved so much. Now it’s up to each of us to keep that up that work.”
Nuala Coughlan, Clinical Nurse Manager Three at the Mercy Urgent Care Centre reminded everyone to stay at home this weekend, to adhere to physical distancing if out of the house and to continue to be vigilant with handwashing.
“The power is in your hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and control hospital admissions and Intensive Care Unit bed occupancy over the next 14 days for yourselves and/or your loved one,” she said.
The frontline workers praised the people of Cork for the way in which they have faced Covid-19 as a community, and asked them to continue to work together and support each other in these difficult times.
Frances Murray, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Cork County Council reminded the public of what they can do support frontline workers:
“Cork County Council’s Fire Services, while continuing to respond to emergencies, are also providing assistance in the community in respect of the Covid 19 crisis. We are there for you when you need us and we are happy to play our part. You can support us by staying safe, remaining at home and following national guidelines. We are In This Together. ”
Liam McAllister, General Operative, Roads Operations, Cork County Council highlighted that support is available, through the County Council Community Call helpline:
“Responding to the needs of our community is our number one concern. Through our Community Call Helpline, we are working alongside so many local community and voluntary groups to deliver essential everyday services for those who need it most. We are here for you, so help us by continuing to stay home and if you need help, call us,” he said.
Co-ordinator of the Cork City Council Community Response Forum, Denis Barrett said:
“Everyday volunteers from the city’s many voluntary and community organisations are seeing how challenging these restrictions can be for some of our most vulnerable residents. However, they also see how spirits are being lifted by the community spirit that is burning bright. Don’t let that dim this weekend. Let’s keep going. By complying with restrictions, everyone of us in a hero in the battle against Covid-19”.
Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn advised that there will be many checkpoints in operation over the coming days.
“Operation Fanacht will once again see an extensive network of checkpoints established across the country until Monday night. The operation will see large-scale checkpoints on both main and secondary routes and in towns and villages.
This will support travel restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve and save lives.
There has been great compliance with the travel restrictions and we want to thank the public for this. The appreciation that has been shown to us frontline workers is outstanding and again I would like to thank you all. However, it remains vital that you continue to play your part and stay at home if possible -this will continue to save lives,” Assistant Commissioner Finn said.
Cork is known for its community spirit, and that spirit has been to the fore during the Covid-19 crisis. Support is still available in Cork including:
The Cork County Community Call helpline can be contacted on 1800 805 819 from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 085 8709010.
The Cork City Community Call helpline can be contacted on 1800-222-226 and is also available from 8 am to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Support can also be accessed via email@example.com.