GPs emphasise that General Practice is open for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 illnesses during Level 5 restrictions.
GPs urge public to self-isolate (stay at home) if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, or waiting for a test or test result.
GPs advise Close Contacts with no symptoms to stay at home, and restrict their movements for 14 days.
Doctors ask public for their patience during time of high anxiety for many.
The Irish College of General Practitioners, the training, education and professional body for Irish general practice, has urged the public to comply with Level 5 restrictions and to self-isolate and respond quickly if any symptoms of COVID-19.
Dr Nuala O’Connor, ICGP Clinical Lead for COVID-19 said:
The Government has put new restrictions in place, but it is everyone’s personal responsibility to stop this virus spreading and putting vulnerable people at risk.”
We support the Government’s decision to move to Level 5. We are urging the public to please abide by the rules regarding self-isolation and close contacts.
- Those with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been tested positive must self-isolate for 10 days since first developed symptoms;
- Close contacts of confirmed cases who test positive must self-isolate for 10 days even if they have no symptoms.
- Close contacts who have a negative test result must restrict movements for 14 days.
“We know it may be difficult for some people to self-isolate at home but this is essential if we are to stop this virus spreading even more. We want to be able to return to a less restricted world but that can’t happen unless everyone respects this very contagious virus.”
Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This includes people you live with. If you live with other people, you must stay in your own room with a window open if possible. It means no sharing of kitchen utensils or bathroom equipment, and if possible using a separate bathroom.
There has been a significant increase in workload in GP surgeries this autumn compared to previous years, coming on the back of an exceptionally busy summer, due to COVID-19 test referrals and backlogs in appointments for non-COVID-19 illnesses.
Dr Mary Favier, COVID-19 Adviser and Cork GP said:
“The provision of flu vaccines this winter has caused a lot of anxiety in people, and staff in GP surgeries are increasingly experiencing anger and impatience from members of the public. GPs are asking people to please be patient.
“We ask that people waiting for flu vaccines must appreciate that there has been a delay and shortage of flu vaccines. We are prioritising the most vulnerable groups and will do our best to get to everyone who requests a vaccine.”
“We also wish to reiterate our message to those who have non-COVID-19 illnesses or worries: please do contact your GP for us to check your symptoms. Nobody wants to miss a vital early diagnosis of a potentially serious illness or cancer.”
“During the lockdown in spring, the incidence of domestic violence rose significantly; Women’s Aid reported a 43% increase in calls between March & June 2020 compared to the previous year. We want to say to people – contact your GP by phone if you need help. General Practice is open and here to help with people under pressure.”
Full information on latest COVID-19 guidelines is available here.
Public health advice is available on COVID-19 symptoms.
ISSUED BY: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, Irish College of General Practitioners.
Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830.