"We may be at risk of a big spike again" – GP warning as NPHET examine rise in Covid cases
"There is a sense that this emergency has ended and, in fact, it hasn't."
As it stands, Ireland is set to lift all remaining Covid-19 restrictions next Friday (22 October).
However, there is concern amongst senior Government officials over a continued rise in the number of Covid cases reported on a daily basis.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is set to meet next Monday to review the latest trends and to subsequently advise the Government on what steps, if any, should be taken.
On Tuesday, 1,466 new cases were confirmed.
402 patients are presently in hospital with the virus, of which 73 are in ICU.
Speaking on Today With Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, GP Máire Finn outlined her perspective on the current situation at ground level.
"We have seen a spike in viral presentations," Dr Finn said.
"There is a worry. People are reluctant to go for a Covid test. I was speaking to a colleague in hospital yesterday and she was saying it was quite alarming – the intake and the number of sick presentations in people, Covid-sick people, I have to say it's alarming."
Put to her that a large swathe of the public have the belief that the pandemic is "over", Finn responded:
"Yeah, we are, we are [seeing that]. We actually have to really challenge that ourselves in the practice. With children presenting – do we insist that they all have a PCR test to prove they haven't [got] Covid before they come in or do we loosen it? And if we do, are we opening up other patients' exposure to Covid?
"It's across the board – these is a sense that this emergency has ended and, in fact, it hasn't and we may be at risk of a big spike again."
Asked about the potential need for a booster vaccine, Dr Finn noted that the programme for people aged over 80 has begun but underlined that those in her profession are in the dark when it comes to their own shot.
"There hasn't been any talk of a booster for healthcare professionals," she said.
"We will need to be boosted, I presume, because most of us would have been done, thankfully, early in February or March but there hasn't been talk about that yet.
"I think there's an increasing uneasiness and nervousness within the profession, generally."