Coronavirus: People must find ways to live with ‘new normal’, says HSE

Chief clinical officer says behaviour has to include minimum contact, avoiding crowds and avoiding close contact

‘New normal’ had to include minimum contact, avoiding crowds and avoiding close contact, the HSE’s chief clinical officer said. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘New normal’ had to include minimum contact, avoiding crowds and avoiding close contact, the HSE’s chief clinical officer said. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The HSE’s chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry, has warned everyone will have to find a way of living with the ‘new normal’ of life in the time of Covid-19.

Dr Henry said he supports people getting back to work, as suggested by Ibec, but said that apart from individual responsibility, employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees are safe.

The ‘new normal’ had to include minimum contact, avoiding crowds and avoiding close contact, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

When asked about school uniforms and if it was safer for children to wear their own clothing, Dr Henry said that was a decision for each school, but he felt if good hand hygiene and social distancing measures were implemented that would be effective.

Dr Henry said the health service had suffered “an unprecedented shock to the system” and that there will be a fall in capacity as social-distancing measures are observed.

He expressed particular concern over the worrying trend of outbreaks of the virus in congregated settings such as the workplace and social gatherings.

Dr Henry was also concerned about the number of people declining to be tested when identified as a contact of a person who had contracted the virus. “It is worrying. If you are called you should go for the test.”

Dr Henry pointed out that 6 to 7 per cent of asymptomatic people who had been tested were diagnosed with the virus. “People are not the best judges for themselves if they need the test.”

One further death of a person with Covid-19 has been reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, while there have been a further 17 confirmed cases.

There has now been a total of 1,754 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland, while the total number of confirmed cases stands at 25,819.

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting Chief Medical Officer, appealed to the public to continue social distancing.

Currently, there are 14 patients in hospital with Covid-19, with six of these in intensive care. Three people were admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours.

The total number of people hospitalised stands at 3,340 with 438 of these requiring intensive care treatment.

A further 4,599 tests were completed in the past 24 hours bringing the total figure to 579,088. A total of 8,355 healthcare workers have contracted the virus. There have been 2,153 clusters of the virus..

Earlier HSE chief executive Paul Reid said sgnificant worrying trends relating to Covid-19 have been seen in the State’s health services in recent weeks,

He said that between July 5th and 18th there were 267 confirmed cases, compared to 155 in the previous fortnight.