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Concern over patients presenting late with Covid symptoms

Patients are presenting late with symptoms of Covid-19 to GPs, which has raised concerns this could be contributing to the recent slowdown in the reduction of Covid-19 cases nationally.

According to North Dublin GP Dr Ray Walley, people are presenting to GPs for advice up to a week after first development symptoms.

“We are even seeing older people contacting GPs late, not just younger people. I was shocked by that,” he said.

“The figures have plateaued and there is a tiredness out there. The danger of people presenting late is that this could lead to more infections.

“There is an obsession with getting the vaccine  but we can’t lose sight of the need to keep transmission of the virus low.”

Almost 200,000 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Ireland along with more than 3,000 deaths. Cases have reduced significantly from their peak earlier this year but concern has been raised that the level of reduction is slowing.

A striking feature of the third wave of the pandemic, Dr Walley said, was that whole families had become infected, with people becoming sicker and spending longer in hospital intensive care units (ICUs).

He urged people to come forward with symptoms as soon as they develop in order to help protect others.

“The benefits of the vaccine won’t accrue for another six to nine months time so it is important that people remain focused. We are becoming tired and comfortable with the problem.”

As clinical lead for the North Dublin Coivd-19 community assessment hub, Dr Walley was referring to hospital 25 per cent of patients presenting at the hub during the recent surge in cases.

“Now I’m only referring about 10 per cent,” he said.

Dr Walley said GPs are ready to begin administering Covid-19 vaccines to the older age cohorts once supplies arrive. He said vaccines would be delivered in a safe and timely manner to ensure other GP services continue.

“We are very lucky to have all these vaccines as initially we thought we could be waiting two to three years for a vaccine. I didn’t have a choice in the vaccine I received. I took what was given, which happened to be the Moderna vaccine.”

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