THE county faced an unprecedented new norm this week as efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus and help save lives gripped the community.
In a rapidly evolving situation, many of the county’s businesses took the incredibly difficult decision to close over the weekend, with local hotels, pubs, restaurants, beauticians and hair salons among the latest to shut their doors. The closure of all schools, educational and childcare facilities last Thursday forced thousands of Carlow children to remain at home, leaving many out of work, while in a further unprecedented move Masses across the diocese are now closed to the public, including today, St Patrick’s Day.
“It’s something we have never seen before. We are going to have to deal with it and hope we come out the other side,” a spokesperson for a local GP surgery told The Nationalist.
Ominously, the healthcare professional predicted that Covid-19 could be in every town in Carlow and Ireland within the week.
There was an appeal for people not to ignore Covid-19 and heed the advice of the HSE. Many who contract Covid-19 will be able to manage their condition at home, but the risk of transmission to vulnerable groups is the big fear.
“It’s the risk to the people at risk – sick kids and adults, people with disabilities and elderly who have conditions like heart failure, respiratory distress and diabetes,” said the practice worker.
“Covid-19 is ten to 20 times more fatal than flu. We all have to be careful to be in contact with our families, elderly people, people who are sick.”
It’s likely that the county will be dealing with Covid-19 for many weeks and months to come.
“There is a fear of fatigue, but we cannot let our guard down. That’s the way we keep it out,” he said.
For those anxious about what the coming weeks hold, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty offered the following words of hope: “The Lord is always with us and the Lady is always by our side. That’s for people of all faiths and none, and those who turn to the Church in times when things are in difficulty. The church doors will remain open,” he said.
“Look after each other, phone each other. If someone has been having a difficult time, ring them more often.”