THAT was the message from Health Minister Robin Swann as Northern Ireland’s most recent Covid-19 figures were announced and as hospitals here prepare for the full brunt of the latest surge.
Minister Swann said: “As I opened today’s Covid-19 daily report my heart sank. A further 26 families added to those who have already been bereaved by Covid. Once again, I would like to extend my sympathies to all the families that have been devastated throughout the course of the pandemic.
“While there has been some reduction in cases, now is not the time to ease up in our fightback against the virus.
“Our health service is facing unparalleled pressures and those who work for it are already exhausted and traumatised.
“The time lag between people getting Covid and needing hospital treatment means our hospitals are now dealing with the consequences of the spike in infections in previous weeks and sadly we are also seeing this bear out in the number of deaths reported.
“The pressures will continue throughout this month and beyond.
“Every one of us can help carry the health service through this. That means staying at home and doing all those things that stop the virus spreading. Keep following the restrictions and the public health advice – our health workers are relying on you.
“In addition, please use health service responsibly and appropriately.
“Of course, if you need medical attention, please do not delay in seeking it. Get immediate help if you have chest pain, stroke symptoms or other emergency conditions.
“Using services responsibly means not going to a hospital Emergency Department if your case is not an emergency.
“If you are medically fit to be discharged from hospital, then that needs to happen as soon as possible. Someone else will need that bed.”