Minister Malcolm Noonan is calling for further capital investment to improve bed capacity at St Luke's Hospital due to the ongoing challenges.
The Green Party Minister is also urging the public to strictly adhere to the public health guidance to protect life.
‘I am grateful to St Luke’s Hospital for keeping me informed of the ongoing situation, their current and future needs. I feel that the hospital remains in a challenging situation regarding Covid and that further capital investment is required to improve bed capacity. I have written to the health minister on this matter. In the meantime, it is our collective responsibility to strictly adhere to public health guidance at level 5 to reduce the rate of spread of the disease in the community. That is the best way we can support our health services and to protect human health and life’.
Minister Noonan added that while the arrival of the EU vaccination programme to Ireland was most welcome, we still have a distance to go to bring the pandemic under control and that a sharp rise in infections could well inundate the health services.
He also acknowledged the immense challenge posed by recent outbreaks of the virus in care home settings and praised local community and frontline worker responses.
‘My thoughts are with those working to contain the virus under very challenging situations, residents of care settings and their families. I remain deeply impressed by the response of those on the frontline and the wider community in how they have responded to this challenge. The prioritisation of the initial rollout of the vaccine is to protect the most vulnerable and those who care for them’ he said.
“I see that the proposed start date for the roll out of vaccinations in Kilkenny is January 14. I think we can all agree that for the management, staff, families and most especially the residents this can’t come fast enough. A second dose is scheduled for 21 days later," said Minister Noonan.
Minister Noonan said that the vaccine has brought hope for the first time during a deeply traumatic time for the whole country but that it’s impact would not be felt for some time to come.
‘I am hopeful that some semblance of normal may return to our lives towards the end of 2021 but our collective immediate focus must be to continue to do doing what we have done so well as a community; all the basic stuff like social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene with the added adherence to level 5 guidance on limiting social contact. Lives and livelihoods have been deeply impacted by this pandemic but with the vaccine comes hope and the promise of better days ahead’.
‘As a nation we have shown incredible collective resilience and solidarity. This will not only get us through this crisis but help us to appreciate the simple things we might have previously taken for granted such as family, friends and community. I wish everyone a brighter year ahead’, concluded Minister Noonan.
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