Newry.ie

The Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has asked residents to do all they can to take the strain of our health care professionals, by following advice on social distancing, hand washing, face coverings as well as downloading the Covid-19 tracing app. It follows a recent meeting between the council and the Health Trusts.

Councillor Laura Devlin said, “I am speaking to you today on behalf of our health care professionals – our dedicated doctors, nurses and other vital health care workers on the front line.

An Ambulance drives up an empty Monaghan Street in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
An Ambulance drives up an empty Monaghan Street in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

“In any ordinary year we know the pressures that autumn and winter can bring on our hospitals. It doesn’t take much imagination to envisage what COVID-19 in all its devastation could bring to our wards.

“Our efforts here in Newry, Mourne and Down have been recognised and thankfully it is showing in our case numbers reducing. Thank you everyone. However, I am sorry to say that we cannot afford a moment of complacency. Our health care workers are worried, very worried.

“The Council recently held a meeting with our health trusts. The South Eastern Trust told us they were coming close to capacity due to COVID-19. During the first surge there were hundreds of empty beds as people stayed away from hospitals if they could. However, there is tremendous pressure on hospital beds as the hospital is dealing with COVID alongside other usual winter pressures. It is so challenging and has taken its toll on many staff who have perhaps had to leave children with other family members to ensure they are kept safe. 

Cllr Laura Devlin, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
Cllr Laura Devlin, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

“During the height of the first surge there were 63 COVID patients in the Southern Trust; there are currently 79, with considerable increased usage of oxygen. Currently there are also 570 members of staff in the Southern Trust off work, due to either having COVID or having to self-isolate due to being a contact. This is the single-biggest challenge as it leads to tired staff having to work even harder. If these numbers were to continue to increase, hard decisions may need to be made over the services staff can provide. 

“So, let’s do what we can to help. It may not sound like much, but every time we keep our distance, wash our hands, wear a face covering where required, or download the StopCOVID NI app we do make a big difference. Our health care workers are wonderfully talented and dedicated professionals who will be there for us if we contract COVID-19 but let’s help them by not calling on their services if we can possibly help it.”

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