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Dr Ronan Glynn: 'There will be absolutely no judgement of anyone who contracts this disease'

Doctors said this evening that it’s vital that people come forward if they have symptoms and don’t feel they’ll be judged.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn at tonight's briefing.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn at tonight's briefing.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

IT’S OF VITAL importance that people don’t feel they’ll be judged for contracting Covid-19, the acting chief medical officer has said, amid reports from GPs that some patients are worried about coming forward if they have symptoms.

Dr Ronan Glynn said this evening: “There will be absolutely no judgement of anybody who contracts this disease. There never has been and there won’t be.”

He was speaking as the Department of Health confirmed a further six cases from Covid-19 in Ireland. No further deaths have been reported from the virus in Ireland. 

Dr Glynn indicated it was likely that the number of cases would be higher again tomorrow, given that a lower number of cases are usually reported on the first day of each week.

There have been clusters originating from gatherings of people and in workplace settings in recent weeks. 

Dr Glynn said that information coming to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) from GPs had indicated that they’d experienced that some people had felt worried about coming forward with symptoms.

HSE BRIEF 285 Dr Sumi Dunne at tonight's briefing Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

GP Dr Sumi Dunne told reporters at tonight’s briefing: “I think people are worried and do feel they’ll be judged. Certainly that’s not our role in general practice at all. We’re very keen to identify people so we can get them testing, and that they’re isolating appropriately so contact tracing can be carried out.”

Dr Dunne said people congregating in enclosed spaces increased the risk of contracting the virus, but said there was no blame in coming forward for a test.

“We’re not interested in how you may have picked up the virus, what we’re interested in is getting you looked after, that you’re isolating, and that you’re calling your GP to arrange testing as quickly as possible,” she said. 

She said a “very important message” that they wanted to get out was that people with symptoms should not fear judgement coming forward, and that they should also use the tracking app to help track close contacts.

Dr Glynn said there’d been such anecdotal reports from GPs on people feeling like they’ll be judged for having Covid-19, and that NPHET was treating this very seriously.

“Invariably, what we find is what the GPs tell us what is happening on the ground tends to play out two or three weeks later,” he said.

This disease is really infectious. Even if you take all of the precautions, you can still be unlucky and contract this disease. There will be absolutely no judgement of anybody who contracts this disease. There never has been and there won’t be.

He said that coming forward will ensure that doctors can quickly refer a person for a test and provide the best care and advice for people and their families.

Dr Glynn also didn’t rule out the possibility of moving back a phase in Ireland’s re-opening, but said that the power to prevent that is in the hands of the public.

Vaccines

Dr Glynn also commented on the reports of a positive early-stage trial for a Covid-19 vaccine from researchers from Oxford University in the UK. He said the global race to produce a vaccine had been unprecedented.

“I would be hopeful that we will have therapeutics and a vaccine, hopefully it won’t be years away.”

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He said Europeans had partnered as they gear up to produce vaccines.

“When the vaccine or vaccine are developed they will need to be manufactured on an unprecedented scale.

“From our perspective the best way we can ensure supply is to partner at a European level with our European member states and ensure we are approaching it and procuring it as one.”

Three quarters of those surveyed by the Department of Health (75%) think that there will be a second wave, up 30% since June.

Medics have said they are not ready for another four months of pressure like the last period.

Rachel Kenna, chief nursing officer at the department, said: “Our healthcare workers have been at the front line since March and they deserve our best efforts to continue to minimise the spread of this virus.

“The impact of any increase in cases will be hard on healthcare workers, who have already given so much to keep us safe this year.

“Let’s reward their dedicated and unwavering service by holding firm on Covid-19.”

With reporting from PA

About the author:

Sean Murray

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