Laois council CEO says 'aggressive' social distancing could effectively deal with Covid-19 by June

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois County Council HQ Portlaoise

Laois County Council HQ Portlaoise

The CEO of Laois County Council has stated today that the Covid-19 emergency might be dealt with effectively in 10 weeks, if everyone obeys the social distancing in the next 10 days.

John Mulholland gave an update to what is the first ever teleconferenced monthly council meeting held in Laois this Monday March 20.

He said that 90% adherance to the social distancing rules is needed.

"I think it's very important and I want to acknowledge the role of the press in this area, to the aggressive implementation of social distancing in the public domain," he said.

"It is important in the next 10 days. I am not going to pretend to be knowledgeable in relation to medical and public health issues, but if there is 90% adherance to social distancing, then there is a very high probability that we can deal effectively with the spread of the virus in about 10 weeks so that's a very important message to communicate," he said.

A 1800 community helpline by Laois County Council will be announced in the next 24 hours for the public, manned by council staff and run by library staff, working from their homes.

"Right across the board we will try and organise those supports as best we can, be it mental health counselling, physical needs, prescriptions and appointments," he said.

He asked for community volunteers to take all precautions.

"There is a massive response from the community of people who want to volunteer. But we say to everybody, and this is important, that the most important person in this link is yourself. Even though you're well intentioned in volunteering, do not expose yourself or your family to the risk of this virus. You have to take precautions and you have to work from a recommended distance as set out by the HSE," Mr Mulholland said.

The staff will engage the supports of Civil Defence, the GAA, the IFA, Tusla and the HSE to assist people ringing up for help.

"It is for essential non-medical, non emergency services, seven days a week from 9am to 8pm. A full announcement will be made by government in the next 24 hours," he said. 

Most council staff are now working from home for their safety, so the county's 19 councillors had their first phone meeting with senior council staff.