This message of support for healthcare workers was posted up in the front garden of a house on the main road between Letterkenny and Lifford
As the number of people who have died in the north west from the Covid-19 pandemic reached double figures this week, a major Garda-led operation focused on ensuring compliance with travel restrictions over the Easter bank holiday weekend has come into force.
The aim of ‘Operation Fanacht’ is to save lives and involves permanent checkpoints on major roads across the country over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The operation will also see Gardaí conduct high visibility patrols at major tourist locations, parks and natural beauty spots to ensure compliance with travel restrictions.
On Monday it was announced by the HSE that four patients in the north west had died in the previous 24-hour period from Covid-19; this figure jumped another six by Tuesday evening.
Last night 25 more deaths were recorded nationally bringing the total number of deaths to 235 with confirmed Covid-19 cases to 6,074.
The north west area covers the counties of Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim, which made up the boundaries of the old North Western Health Board. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Donegal has also dramatically risen over the past week. They increased from 77 confirmed cases on April 1 to 80 on April 2, 81 on April 3, 103 on April 4, 114 on April 5, and 120, on April 6 (the latest figure).
Forty-eight Covid-19 Community Testing Centres are operational nationally, including Ballyshannon's Lakeside Centre and O'Donnell Park in Letterkenny.
They closed temporarily last week, due to a national test kit shortage.
The county will also continue to prioritise testing of healthcare workers as well as in-patients in acute hospitals and across residential facilities.
People referred for a Covid-19 test are offered appointments to attend a drive through clinic for testing.
The Donegal sites are now operating during the hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday.
Testing is by way of GP referral only and those coming for testing must have an appointment. Venues may also be subject to change.
A new 'Community Assessment Hub' will also become operational in the county's largest town, Letterkenny, next week.
Regarding the turnaround times the HSE said: "We apologise to all those waiting for test results and we wish to reassure the public that we are making every endeavour to improve turnaround times within the current international constraints.
"Testing is performed for public health as opposed to clinical reasons, and patients waiting for results should continue to self-isolate for 14 days."
Priority groups for testing in Donegal include people with specific symptoms of coronavirus who are also:
- close contacts of a confirmed case
·- healthcare workers who are in the frontline and have regular patient contact
·- those most at risk of severe infection such as people with diabetes, immunosuppressed, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease and smokers
· - people who live with those in the above groups
- staff and residents of nursing homes and other residential care settings and those in direct provision, homeless, Roma and travelling community settings where symptom management is difficult
- pregnant women to ensure they are managed safely in hospital.
ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has welcomed measures taken by the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) to assist older people who are cocooning with banking.
The five main retail banks have introduced free phone numbers to offer assistance and advice to older customers required to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) yesterday also announced the launch of a new Care and Inform online hub to provide accurate information around funerals and grieving during the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called for reform of the Wage Subsidy Scheme to ensure that workers receive a minimum payment of at least €350 per week.
"Because employees are only required to pay 70% of employees wages, workers with weekly take home pay of less than €500 are receiving less than the €350 they would receive from the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment," he said.
Meanwhile, gardaí in the county have stepped up the number of roadside checkpoints to ensure that the stay at home message is getting through.
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