Ireland recorded its highest increase in Covid-19 cases today since the outbreak began.
A second person has died and 39 more cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed by the Department of Health.
This brings the total number of cases in the Republic to 129 and the total number of deaths to two.
It is understood that the patient who died had an underlying health condition and comes from the East of the country.
On behalf of all the GPs in Laois, Dr Michelle Byrne has released a statement aimed mainly at the general public in Laois.
See it in full below:
We understand that this is a time of uncertainty and worry for everyone.
We are asking for your help
As GPs our response to COVID 19/Coronavirus is evolving daily. From the information we have available to us, the elderly, those with chronic disease and those with other co-morbid conditions are most vulnerable. We are making every effort to continue to provide safe services to our patients. To do this we are asking for your help.
Each practice will have different procedures in place for how they manage appointments, queries, paperwork and prescriptions. These may be different to usual. We ask that you be patient with our staff as they continue to do their best to help you. Please remember that they are also worried about their families and loved ones.
Wash your hands, cover your coughs
The most important advice we can give, is that you wash your hands regularly, cover your coughs and maintain distance of 1-2 metres from other people. It is now necessary to reduce our social contact with others and therefore schools have closed.
Check in on your vulnerable relatives
This will present challenges for us all, but it is an important measure in trying to slow transmission of the virus. Please remember to check in by phone on your vulnerable relatives to make sure they are well and have adequate provisions.
Misinformation and rumours
We understand there has been much misinformation and rumours in relation to the management of COVID 19/coronavirus on social media including Whatsapp messages & Facebook posts. The HSE and Department of Health provide comprehensive information about the virus itself and the measures being taken to try and halt transmission. hse.ie www.gov.ie
Symptoms of COVID 19/Coronavirus include cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fever or chills. If you have these symptoms the public health advice is to self-isolate for 14 days. More information regarding COVID 19/Coronavirus can be found on the HSE website, including information about when to seek help. hse.ie
Increase in testing
There will be an increase in the number of people tested for COVID 19/Coronavirus in the coming weeks. From Monday if you have symptoms, please contact your GP by phone and testing will be arranged if indicated (Your GP does NOT test). Please update your contact number and Eircode with reception on calling. There may be delays in testing as our public health teams ramp up testing. Please be patient if you are referred for testing. While waiting for tests and/or test results patients will be required to self-isolate at home.
It is important to remember that other illnesses will happen that are unrelated to COVID 19/Coronavirus. undertheweather.ie is an excellent resource for patients. It provides lots of clear information about looking after common illnesses at home. However more serious illnesses will occur. Please contact your GP or MIDOC on 1850 302702 if you have other concerns.
High volume of calls
All our phone lines continue to experience a high volume of calls and it may take time to get through. Again, please be patient. Your calls will be screened by staff and prioritised in order of importance. We ask that you provide staff with as much detail as possible about your concern so that we can triage the calls effectively.
If you are worried about COVID 19/Coronavirus but you are well, rather than phoning your GP or MIDOC please use the following resources to get the most accurate up to date information. hse.ie www.gov.ie
Please do not walk into your GP surgery, MIDOC or Emergency Department if you have symptoms of respiratory illness. We ask that you use the Emergency Department for emergencies only.
Protect our front line staff
To date the numbers of COVID 19/Coronavirus diagnoses are small but with increased testing we expect that we will see a significant increase in numbers. For most of us this will be a mild illness that we can self-manage at home but for some it will be a more serious illness. It is necessary that we protect our front-line staff in GPs and in hospitals so that they can stay well to continue to provide the care and services that will be needed over the coming weeks and months.
We hope this information will help you access timely, accurate information and answer some of the questions that you may have.