Caution urged around older people

Increase in COVID cases in older age groups
  • Deborah Condon

Members of the public are being urged to be particularly cautious around older people, due to an increase in cases of COVID-19 among older age groups.

The chairperson of NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Prof Philip Nolan, warned that over the last week, there has been an increase in cases among older people.

He pointed out that one in five people over the age of 75 will have to be hospitalised with the virus, compared to one in 100 people under the age of 45.

ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, is calling on the public to be vigilant around older age groups. It said that some older people may be feeling vulnerable this week as a result of children going back to school and the resulting increased movement and activity this brings.

It said that it has received a number of calls from older people who are anxious that the return of children to schools will result in another spike in cases.

"Many older people are also feeling unsure of where they stand in terms of the current Government safety guidelines, and feel that they have not been included in the gradual reopening of society.

"ALONE has stated that it is important for people to remember that while many aspects of our daily lives are returning to normal, older people still remain one of the most restricted and at-risk groups of the pandemic," the organisation noted.

It is calling for clear and consistent guidelines for older people.

"Many older people who have called our support line are afraid to leave their homes in case they come into contact with a carrier of the virus. We seek to support all older people with advise based on their individual circumstances. We are asking for continued clarity from Government on guidelines for older people so that we can all move to the next stage of reopening together," commented ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan.

He pointed out that while many people are now returning to some form of normality, "certain groups of individuals, such as older people, are still very worried about the virus and what will happen to them if they are exposed to a carrier of the virus".

Older people who need advice can call ALONE on 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

Meanwhile, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) is also urging people who may be visiting nursing homes to "maintain heightened vigilance". Nursing homes were one of the worst-hit areas early on in the pandemic.

"We urge anyone visiting nursing homes to ensure they follow public health guidelines and individual nursing home advice and measures. Failing to adhere to this can jeopardise the health and lives of people in our nursing homes," commented NHI CEO, Tadhg Daly.


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