Covid-19 Community Response Forum was established in County Laois and was co-ordinated by Laois County Council. With representation from multiple statutory and voluntary agencies, the core aim of the Forum was to contribute to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Laois County Council, through this Forum, ensured that the wide variety of groups working across the county assisted in need, and did so in an organised, collaborative and targeted way.
Easing of Restriction
Government agreed Ireland’s plan for the next and final phase of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting. The government has agreed that during the period between 1 September and 22 October, they will continue with a careful and gradual approach to reopening, while supporting maximum reach of the vaccine programme and allowing time to achieve the full benefits for all those currently being vaccinated.
To get a free COVID-19 (coronavirus) PCR test at a HSE COVID-19 test centre you can:
- book online
- phone a GP
You cannot use a HSE COVID-19 test result for international travel from Ireland. If you need a letter for travel, you need to have a negative PCR test from a private company. They will give you the letter you need to travel.
Who Can Get A PCR Test
You can get a PCR test if you have not had a positive COVID-19 PCR test in the last 9 months. Only get another test if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Children under 16 must have an adult with them if they are getting a test. A parent or guardian must give consent for a child under 16 to have a test.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate (stay in your room) and only go out to get a PCR test. If your symptoms get worse or you are worried about symptoms, phone your GP
Laois Testing Location
St. Fintan’s Hospital,
Self-isolation and restricted movements
You can watch the latest self-isolation and restricted movements ad here
How to get your COVID Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines will protect you from serious illness from COVID-19 (coronavirus).
To get a free COVID-19 vaccine you can register for an appointment at a vaccination centre. If you are aged 16 or older, you can also go to a walk-in clinic without an appointment at certain times.
To get a vaccine appointment, you can:
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
You can find the latest information on vaccines administered here.
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics
You can also get your vaccine without an appointment at a walk-in clinic. The walk-in clinics open this week are listed here.
Walk-in clinics are open for people aged 12 and older. Children aged 12 to 15 must attend with their parent or guardian.
Most walk-in clinics are for the first or second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The type of vaccine being offered is listed next to the clinic’s details.
Please note: there are no booster doses at walk-in clinics.
Walk-in clinics are for first and second dose only. You cannot get a booster dose at a walk-in vaccination clinic. You can find more information on the booster dose here.
Find a pharmacy giving COVID-19 vaccines
Many pharmacies are now offering COVID-19 vaccines to people aged 12 and over. Find a pharmacy to book your vaccine appointment. You can find more information here.
Where to find COVID-19 Vaccination Information
We encourage everyone to read about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get their information from a factual, trusted source – here are the links to the pages with information on the vaccine:
- Check here for information about the vaccine, information on this page is updated regularly
- Find the vaccine information materials at https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/covid-19-resources-and-translations/covid-19-vaccine-materials/
- Details on COVID-19 vaccines administered are available here
- Read the full COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategyfull COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy
- Read the National Immunisation Advisory Committee Chapter about COVID-19 vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccine information for health professionals
- Information in Irish Sign Language: information resources on the COVID-19 vaccines in Irish Sign Language are available here
- COVID-19 vaccines easy read and accessible information formats are available here
Pregnancy and getting a COVID-19 vaccine
You should get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself from the virus if you’re:
- trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future
You will need 2 doses of your COVID-19 vaccine.
It is safe to get your COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy.
Guidance has changed on doses during pregnancy because there is more evidence available.
You should get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered, following a discussion with your midwife, GP or obstetrician.
You can find more information here.
Additional COVID-19 vaccination dose for those who are immunocompromised
Having a weak immune system puts you at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated will give you some protection against this.
If you have a weak immune system, you may be offered another COVID-19 vaccine dose to give you better protection.
You can find information on who may need an additional COVID-10 vaccine dose here.
Hospitals will identify the people who need an additional dose. You do not need to register of contact anyone. People who need an additional dose will receive a text message with an appointment for their vaccine. These additional doses will be given through HSE vaccination centre near you, or your hospital if you’re an inpatient. GPs may also vaccinate some people.
COVID-19 vaccine booster dose
If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine course, you will be offered a booster dose if you are:
- 80 or older, or
- 65 or older and living in a nursing home or long-term residential care facility
If you are living in long-term residential care and you are aged 65 or over, you will be vaccinated where you live.
If you are aged 80 or over and not living in residential care, you’ll be invited for your vaccine by your GP. Some GPs will refer patients to a vaccination centre.
You can find more information about the COVID-19 vaccine booster dose here.
If you cannot leave your home
If you cannot leave home for medical reasons, your GP can refer you for a home vaccination.
Mixed vaccines doses
People who received a first dose of AstraZeneca can now receive an mRNA (Pfizer/Moderna) vaccine as their second dose. NIAC recommends that receiving two doses of the same vaccine are preferred for all age groups, where possible. You can read more about this here. Dose 2 walk-in vaccination clinics for people who wish to get an mRNA vaccine after their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are listed here.
EU Digital COVID Certificate
If you have queries in relation to this certificate or international travel in general, you can:
- visit the government website
- get travel advice to help you make an informed decision
- access travel advice and information on measures in place across the EU
The emergency helpline number for the Digital COVID Certificate is: 1800 851 504
Stop the Spread
In order to limit the spread of the virus, we will all need to continue to practise the important public health measures that we’ve been following during the pandemic:
- regular hand washing
- cover coughs and sneezes
- keep a 2-metre distance from other people
- keep social contacts with other people outside our household to a minimum
- know the symptoms of COVID-19 and stay at home and contact your GP to arrange a test if you think you have symptoms
- wear a face covering in shops and in busy indoor workplaces, on public transport and in crowded outdoor spaces
Wearing a Face Covering
By law you have to wear a face covering when you use public transport, and since Monday 10th August the wearing of face coverings has also mandatory in shops and shopping centres. With this in mind we thought it might be timely to share with you some simple messages you can help to pass on.
This video is a really great explainer for anyone looking for advice on how to wear a mask, you can click here for all of the up to date information on when a mask should be worn as well as lots of other helpful information.
Face coverings offer a higher level of protection from infection, however, face shields (including Perspex shield and similar) are acceptable forms of face coverings as they may be preferable for people with communications difficulties.
Help is at hand for your emotional wellbeing and mental health!
To view the full range of services available over the click here
Public Health Information
As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/. Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on www.hpsc.ie where you’ll find up to date guidance for healthcare settings and non-clinical settings.
Isolation quick guide: adults and children from their 13th birthday
You can find this guide here.
Isolation quick guide: aged greater than 3 months and up to 13th birthday
You can find this guide here.
Interim Public Health and Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities
You can find this guidance here.
VIRTUAL DROP-IN CLINIC – HSE PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE:
The HSE Psychology Service are continuing to provide a support service to anyone who may be experiencing stress, worry, anxiety or any other emotional distress as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic or are worried about the impact on their family or friends. This support is available by emailing email@example.com with relevant contact details. A HSE Psychologist will then provide a follow up supportive call.
Individuals can self-refer or Support Workers/Community Development Workers can request a call on behalf of their clients. The service is also available to those who are providing support to others – we all need to look after our own self-care also!
The Psychological First Aid given is a humane, compassionate and supportive response with the aim of helping the individual to understand their emotional reaction and identify ways to cope and manage difficult and distressing feelings and emotions. It will work with the individuals strengths and build on the many skills that they have used to cope with past stresses and difficulties.
HSE “Help is at Hand” has been developed with the aim of collating all the main relevant supports and services that may be required and/or helpful to people during the current circumstances. It is very informative and endeavours to cover all demographics and age cohorts,: https://laois.ie/wp-content/uploads/Help-is-at-hand-Covid-19-Poster-Laois-Offaly-1.pdf
The HSE have posted translated resources to help share the messaging about coronavirus (COVID-19) in various languages. These posters and booklets are available for download and printing.
The translations of the guidance and advice is at the following link: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/covid-19-translated-resources/
An Post has announced “Community Focus” which is an expanded range of post office and postal delivery supports for customers and communities to help everyone stay connected now and into the future.
Services include Postage Pick up for older and vulnerable customers , Postman or Postwoman will pick up mail from their home and An Post will cover the cost. Also free postage to and from Nursing & Care homes, full information is available at https://www.anpost.com/Community .
An Post operate a “Request a Check in for older and vulnerable customers” through the following link: Community Support Request a Check In
The service is designed to alleviate the negative impacts loneliness has on mental and physical health. Volunteers are trained and supported by professional staff. If the older person’s needs change, staff also work with them to coordinate the additional supports they need to age at home
Age Action – Getting Started Kit
The Getting Started KIT is made up of How To guides that will support older people to learn, use, and be confident using smartphones and applications.
The Age Action Getting Started KIT materials are available to download below or people can call 01 8730372 leave their name and address and Age Action will post the How to Guides within 10 days.
COVID Tracker App now available to download
The HSE has created a free smartphone app to help improve contact tracing for COVID-19. The app will make contact tracing faster and more accurate, reducing the spread of coronavirus. Nearly 500,000 people have already downloaded the app today.
If you use the app, you can:
- get an alert if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19
- alert others if you test positive for coronavirus – this will help keep other people safe
- track your symptoms and get advice on what to do if you’re sick
- get regular updates, and protect yourself and others as we learn to live with COVID-19
The app protects your privacy and you keep control of your information. It exchanges secure, anonymous records via Bluetooth when people using it are in close contact with each other. It will never identify you to other app users and you cannot access each other’s information.
You can find an information leaflet with more detail that you can share with your own networks here.
The COVID tracker app will help us to track and stop the spread of COVID-19 as we continue to re-open services and communities. It goes hand in hand with the other important steps we can all take. Everyone should continue to wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, keep our 2m distance and use face coverings when we can’t.
Thanks in advance for your support – the more people who download and use the app, the more it will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The COVID Tracker app is available on www.covidtracker.ie, or in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store now.
Citizens Information Service
Citizens Information Service (CIS) can be accessed via their website at www.citizensinformation.ie
Contact a CIS in your local town or county by selecting ‘Find a Centre’ or alternatively you can request a call back from a trained Information Officer. If you have a question on any topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday) 9am to 8pm.’
Minding your Mental Health during COVID-19 – A Booklet for Carers.
This is an unprecedented time for Ireland as a nation; COVID-19 has brought many changes to our lives. It is a time of uncertainty and many of us are feeling stressed, anxious and vulnerable. Being in the role of a carer comes with added pressures as some of the supports and services that you relied on to help you in your role are not currently available. This handbook aims to provide you with tips for maintaining your wellbeing during this period, in order to allow you continue to care for your loved one. All of the wellbeing advice within this handbook is relevant at any time in our lives but is especially important in times of stress.
Bereavement Support Counselling
A Confidential Counselling Support Service for family members and concerned persons bereaved during the COVID-19 pandemic is available from the HSE National Counselling Service (NCS).
This service will provide:
- Information on Bereavement
- Support for family members and concerned others who are experiencing distress
- Referral to other appropriate services
TO REQUEST THE COUNSELLING SUPPORT SERVICE PHONE:
Please email out of hours. Self-referrals welcome. For referrals by a health professional please obtain consent to share information.
Laois Community Response Interactive Map
To view the volunteer groups active in your area please click on the below link. This interactive map is provided by Laois Public Participation Network (PPN) in response to COVID-19.
Click News to read Age Friendly Ireland daily updates:
In This Together
For tips and advice on how you can look after your mental well being, stay active and stay connected, follow the link https://www.gov.ie/en//together/
Covid 19 World Service is a joint initiative of Nasc and Together Ireland. Over 20 doctors, and other healthcare professionals, from around the world, but living and working in Ireland, have voiced the video messages for this new Covid-19 World Service Initiative aimed at providing up-to-date and accurate public health informcampaignsation to migrants living in Ireland
Click for video at http://www.neic.ie/news/covid-19-world-service
Irish Hospice Foundation COVID-19 Care & Inform Team
Are you caring for a loved one at home, or has someone you love died? Information and support is available through the Irish Hospice Foundation
Freephone 1800 80 70 77, Monday to Friday, 10am – 1pm or go to https://hospicefoundation.ie/covid19careandinform/