The HSE’s Department of Public Health North East, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Meath County Councils and An Garda Síochána are appealing to the public to stay home and stay safe this Easter.
As Easter approaches and the anticipation of a break from routine looms there is the potential to drop our guard. Today the HSE, An Garda Síochána and local authorities in the North East are reminding the public that Covid-19 does not take a holiday and we must remain alert to the dangers it poses to our families and communities. Together each agency is calling on the public to limit their contacts this Easter to stop the spread of COVID-19.
An Garda Síochána will continue its high visibility checkpoints and patrols at public amenities, parks and beauty spots across the country and encourages the public to plan your activities to ensure you exercise within your 5km.
An Garda Síochána continues to find groups gathering (house parties, social gatherings are not just breaches of regulations, but create a real risk for those attending and everyone they come into contact with afterwards including loved ones, neighbours, colleagues and their local community.
Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien of the North Western Region of An Garda Síochána said, "An Garda Síochána is appealing to the public over the Easter period to continue to follow the public health guidelines by staying home and staying safe. Covid-19 remains a public health concern and we as individuals have the power to protect ourselves and our communities.
"The vast majority of people are complying with the public health regulations but now is not the time to let your guard down. We must keep it up. We know this has been incredibly difficult and has involved significant sacrifices, but by continuing to follow the guidance you help save lives and protect those on the front-line.
"The best way of keeping safe is to stay home. If you are going out, please only undertake necessary journeys and exercise within 5km of your home. Limit your contacts, always maintain social distancing, wear a facemask and ensure you are practicing regular hand washing.” "An Garda Síochána’s high visibility checkpoints continue throughout the region and patrols at local amenity sites will continue throughout the Easter period under Operation Fanacht. This proactive policing is being conducted in support of the public health measures to save lives and to protect our communities. Community engagement patrols continue. An Garda Síochána is here to help and Gardaí continue to engage with the most vulnerable in society to provide them with the necessary supports. Should you or someone you know require assistance don’t hesitate in contacting your local Garda station or in an emergency dial 999 or 112,” Assistant Commissioner O’ Brien concluded.
Dr Augustine Pereira, Director of Public Health, HSE North East, commented: "During the past week, we have seen a 20% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported to the Department of Public Health in the North East. It is vital therefore, as we approach Easter, that everyone plays their part to protect themselves, their families, friends, neighbours and communities. This Easter is unfortunately not a time we can take a break from our hard work, rather, pay more attention by continuing to stay at home and adhere to public health guidelines to suppress transmission of COVID-19.”
"We acknowledge people are getting tired of COVID-19, but unfortunately this virus does not get tired and it continues to infect people when we drop our guard. We are seeing evidence of this across all ages and in a range of settings, including household visits among neighbours, social gatherings, funerals, not using appropriate PPE and distancing in some workplaces. We are seeing avoidable social interactions leading to larger outbreaks across multiple settings.”
"Attending gatherings of any size increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 and is against the current government guidelines. Everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid situations that are a risk to themselves, their family, friends and colleagues.”
"Our individual actions matter and we need to adhere to public health guidelines, to keep our schools open, resume non-COVID healthcare and protect our communities. Together, we have achieved so much. Now it is up to each of us to keep up the great work,” he added. Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin said, "I would like to thank the people of Louth who have sacrificed much over the last year to keep friends and family safe during this very trying time. Many families have lost loved ones and our hearts are filled with sadness for those who passed, for those who mourn, and for those who are still suffering due to Covid.
"Louth, like other counties, saw huge rates of transmission, and it was only through the concerted efforts of every resident in Louth that we saw those numbers gradually decrease.
"I know that everyone is fatigued and we are all missing each other and we yearn to get together. But, we are not there yet.
"Easter is traditionally a time for families but it is also a symbol of resurrection and renewal, and I firmly believe if we can just hold on a while longer and limit our contacts, there will come a time when families can be safely back together,” she said.
Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council, Eamonn O’Sullivan praised the work of communities, but reminded of the need to be vigilant in the coming weeks. "We have seen over the past few months how the sacrifices you are making are helping drive case numbers down, but we are not there yet. We would urge you to follow public health advice and adhere to government guidelines. I would ask the people of Monaghan to continue to stay at home to help stop community transmission of COVID-19. If anyone needs assistance, practical support or someone to talk to, please remember that help is available, you can call the Monaghan COVID-19 Community Helpline free on 1800 804 158 or email email@example.com assistance,” he said.
Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan, hailed the extraordinary community effort to bring the county’s transmission levels down in recent weeks and urged continued vigilance over the Easter period.
"Cavan people have worked incredibly hard to bring this virus under control in their locality. It has been a very difficult year and everyone is understandably feeling the strain, but I think we can all take great heart in the knowledge that our sacrifices are saving lives. I ask the people of Cavan to maintain their solidarity and their determination to continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens and our health service while the vaccine rollout continues. There is light at the end of tunnel and, together, we will overcome this crisis.
"For those that need assistance with essentials such as transport or food deliveries, or even just a friendly, sympathetic ear, please remember the Cavan Community Call Helpline is there for you. Call freephone 1800 300 404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Mr Ryan.
Chief Executive of Meath County Council, Jackie Maguire added "I want to thank everyone for playing their part in tackling the spread of the virus. The disease however is still in our communities and Meath is very much in the frontline. Every one of us knows loved ones, friends or neighbours who could be very severely affected if exposed to the virus and this underlines why we all need to do our bit to protect those most at risk. While there is a general Covid fatigue, there is no room for complacency. We all need to keep up the great effort shown to date throughout Meath in the weeks ahead. Our behaviours are central to the solution and this includes what we do and how we do it in our daily lives”.