WHILE it never fully went away, it is safe to say Covid is very much back circulating in the community.
There are no official statistics to confirm the current surge in cases, as those with the virus are no longer required to test or report their diagnosis.
However, with the number of Covid hospital admissions rising in recent weeks, and the prevalence of the virus in the community being felt in households and workplaces around the county, everyone is being urged to do all they can to stop the spread to protect the vulnerable and support the health service.
Local pharmacies are once again on the frontline of the fight against the virus, and they too have noticed the recent surge.
“It’s all anecdotal, as we don’t have official figures, but we’re still supplying the lateral flow tests, and we’re seeing a definite increase in demand for them,” said Joe McAleer from Erne Pharmacy, which has premises in both Enniskillen and Belcoo.
“Some people are starting to come in wearing masks again, especially the more vulnerable and older people, coming in wearing masks.
“You can see that wee bit of fear or anxiety coming through.”
Mr McAleer, pictured right said while there had always been a small number of people requiring tests in months past, it had only been since the beginning of August that demand began to grow again.
He also noted that, possibly due to the new Covid variant, people appear to be getting sicker during this latest outbreak, although he again stressed this was just an observation as there was no data to confirm this.
Above all, Mr McAleer – whose pharmacy provides a palliative care service – urged everyone to do all they could to stop the spread.
“People who are healthy and well will likely breeze through it, but there are always the more vulnerable people behind that as well, and the services who could lose staff and support,” he said.
Mr McAleer added the virus could put even more pressure on our already stretched hospital service.
Pointing out many people could have vulnerable people at home, such as a relative living with cancer or an elderly loved one, Mr McAleer said while it wasn’t official advice, those with symptoms should test and isolate if they can.
“Be vary wary of who you’re in contact with, if you’re going to be in contact with vulnerable people or frontline health staff, you need to remember to try to protect the service as much as you can,” he said.
Urging the public to follow basic hygiene advice, such as regular hand washing and disposing of used tissues immediately, he added it was “vitally important” that anyone who was eligible to takes up their booster in the upcoming autumn vaccine programme, set to begin on September 16th.
For more information and advice visit www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition