The Department of Public Health South East is urging people to immediately self-isolate if they have any symptoms of a cold or cough, as it is currently at the highest level of infection in the region since the start of the pandemic.
The department is dealing with a 'significant increase' in COVID-19 among staff in high-risk settings, including nursing homes, other residential care facilities, and among vulnerable groups within the population.
South East health officials are urging those who are working with or visiting people who are vulnerable or high-risk (e.g. elderly, those with weak immune systems, etc) to be extra cautious i.e. if you have symptoms stay away.
People living in the South-East are encouraged to avail of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster as soon as eligible.
Director of Public Health South East, Dr Carmel Mullaney said vaccination is crucial in the defense against this highly-transmissible disease and if fully vaccinated and have received your booster, individuals have significant protection against the severe effects of the virus.
Dr Mullaney said: "It is important that we self-isolate as soon as we notice symptoms of a cold, flu, or cough.
"Due to the current situation, a person with symptoms who does not isolate could be the source of a potentially serious outbreak in a household, workplace, or community.
"This message is particularly important if you are working closely with or visiting elderly or vulnerable people. They are most at risk of serious illness, and we need to protect them.”
The Department has issued guidance on antigen tests and isolation:
· If you are aged 4-39 and you have symptoms, you should self-isolate, and a free antigen test should be booked through the HSE website
· If you are awaiting an antigen test or PCR test due to symptoms, you should assume that you have COVID-19, and continue self-isolating for 10 days. If you have had a booster vaccine more than a week ago, you may be able to exit self-isolation after 7 days. Check www.hse.ie for current advice and guidelines. Make sure to consult your GP if you are concerned or feeling very unwell.
· People who test positive on an antigen test – even if they do not have symptoms – should self-isolate and book a PCR test.
· Even if you test negative on all tests but have symptoms, continue to self-isolate until you are 48 hours symptom-free.
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