As the community assessment hub remains operational at the Clonbrusk Resource Centre in Athlone to enable COVID-19 positive patients (confirmed and presumptive ) who require a face to face clinical assessment attend a locally based unit as near as possible to where they live, Mr. Pat Bennett, Chief Health Officer, HSE Midlands Louth Meath and Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, addressed the need to provide a more sustainable structure which will focus upon how relevant services are delivered in a safe environment both for service users and staff while the virus remains prevalent within local communities.
His thoughts were afforded as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Westmeath totalled 656 (as of midnight, May 17 ) - representing a two percent increase on the figure noted a week previously.
“This structural process in line with the Government’s return to work guidelines will be the focus of our planning and engagement over the next number of weeks. This deadly virus is still with us and we all have a duty of care to protect our loved ones.
“This will prove challenging for all involved. Engagement with staff and the learning from the COVID-19 response will obviously feed into this process as will new working guidelines, telemedicine, technology, public heath advice, and the good will of all involved”.
“Last week, I had the opportunity to visit two testing centres in the Midlands and to meet with the public health medicine team who are leading out on contact tracing in the region.
“To see at first hand the planning and organisation that went in to getting those facilities up and running in such a short space of time was certainly very impressive and no doubt bodes well for our ability to plan and organise as we move into a new way of working and providing services in our community.
“I wish to welcome and support the new phase of the public health advice campaign which supports our move through those coming phases, under the overall theme ‘Stay safe, protect each other, #Hold Firm’.
“Over the last weeks and months, we have worked together and have reduced the impact of COVID-19 on the country and our health service. Now we need to motivate and inspire people to hold firm and to keep going with those actions that help us to stay safe and protect each other. The Hold Firm campaign takes inspiration from the words of President Michael D. Higgins, and reminds people why we have to keep up our efforts and keep that curve flat,” Mr. Bennett asserted.