*Figures up to date on Monday, March 30
** 2016 Census
With ‘worst still to come’ in Mayo, we must redouble our efforts
The head of the northwest hospital group Saolta has called on Mayo people to do all they can to slow the spread of Covid-19 in the county.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, which includes Mayo University Hospital and hospitals in Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, says ‘the worst is still to come’.
All of the country has gone into what has been broadly termed a ‘lockdown’ since Friday night last and people have been asked to stay at home unless they are conducting or are on their way to what has been deemed essential work, caring for people, buying essential goods, or exercising within two kilometres of their home.
People over 70 and people who are extremely vulnerable to the virus due to underlying health conditions must not leave their home at all.
It is all part of an effort to slow down the progression of Covid-19.
“I would be very clear with people in County Mayo that the worst of this is yet to come,” Mr Canavan told The Mayo News last night (Monday). “There is absolutely no question or doubt about that. The message that people need to get is that the measures that have been recommended very consistently about staying indoors and only going out according to the current restrictions announced by Government on Friday, washing your hands regularly, practising good etiquette in terms of coughing and sneezing and maintaining social distancing all will really help when this thing finally arrives in County Mayo.
“It is very, very important that people would continue to maintain good discipline around that,” he urged.
The next two weeks, will, he says, be crucial.
“One thing we can say in terms of our planning is we are expecting the numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Mayo to rise quite considerably over the next two week period. Therefore we are expecting the number of people going into the hospital with Covid-19 to rise quite considerably,” he said.
Battle to slow
Mayo is at an advantage because of its rural make-up, Mr Canavan said. Not because being sparsely populated will reduce the number of people contracting the virus but that the low population density of the county will facilitate a slowing of the spread of the virus.
“The progression of the virus across the population is going to be slower in a rural population, and that should be helpful to the hospital.
“This is not a battle that we are looking to win. What we are trying to do is slow the progression of the virus down, and if we can slow it down sufficiently that it allows our hospital services and our other services to be able to cope with the additional demands that are on them. If it all comes at once, in one big surge, our services will not be able to cope with that.
“Our hopes are that the measures which have been put in place and that people have complied really well with, that that will allow us to manage this over a period of time.
“We’re planning that probably from the middle of April things will be extremely busy in all of our hospitals, in the acute hospital beds but I don’t think it will be just for that week but it will be for a period of time after that as well,” he conceded.