Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

08.54 31 Oct 2020


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People who are feeling unwell are advised not to avoid hospitals over fears of contracting COVID-19.

As of yesterday afternoon, there were 325 patients with coronavirus in hospital, with 42 in intensive care.

There were 772 new cases of the virus reported yesterday, alongside six further deaths.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that, while the overall situation has improved, “these are still very early days.”

He added that the incidence is increasing in older age groups.

However, people who may be feeling unwell from non-COVD ailments are being told not to be afraid to come to hospitals for treatment.

Dr Catherine Motherway, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at University Hospital Limerick, was speaking on Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh today.

She said: "If you have symptoms, contact your GP and don't be afraid to come to hospital.

"Hospitals now are testing people on arrival, and dividing people into COVID and non-COVD streams.

"While there have been some small outbreaks, we haven't had massive outbreaks in our hospitals.

"It is really important that you don't stay at home to avoid getting COVID and then end up with a disease that we could actually fix."

Dr Motherway said she is "grateful" that there are some positive indicators that the spread of the virus is beginning to slow down.

She said: "We're still seeing hospitalisations and those will continue for some time.

"We do expect to continue to see people coming to our critical care units over the course of the next number of weeks, particularly as there's a rise in the numbers in people aged over 75.

"We are very grateful that the numbers are coming down.

"This is not something that is going away, this is something that is going to require every individual in the country to make sacrifices, to do what they've been doing, and to keep doing what they've been doing.

"We're not talking about six weeks of this that or the other, we're talking about a change in the way that we live at the moment to control viral transmission.

Dr Motherway added that we have seen what can happen when people begin to live their lives more freely during loosened restrictions, which is that the number of cases rises.

She said: "I think over the summer, we thought it had gone away as a community and we started to go back to living the way we normally do.

"We have seen it now overwhelm the health care system in Belgium, approaching overwhelming places in France.

"So we know what can happen, so we should continue to take [the WHO's] Dr Mike Ryan's advice, we need to continue hand washing, mask-wearing, social distancing, if you're sick don't go to work, ring your GP, get a test."

She advised: "If you've been asked to isolate, keep away from other people.

"In that way, if we have lower viral transmissions, we'll be able to run our lives to a certain degree."

Main image: File photo. Credit: Press Association

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