Trade union Unison has reiterated a plea by intensive care nurse Noeleen Henry to take Covid seriously following the death of her husband earlier this week.
Alan Henry, a health care worker from Ballymena, died on Wednesday following a short illness.
His funeral cortege will leave Henry’s Funeral Parlour on Saturday, January 9 at 12.30pm to Ballee Cemetery allowing friends the opportunity to pay respects along the route.
Mr Henry had worked for a number of years in the Rapid Response Team in Antrim before taking up a new role in the Dementia Team.
In a post on social media, Stephanie Greenwood, Unison Northern Health Branch chairperson, said: “Alan was a highly regarded member of staff but more importantly he was a friendly and caring gentleman.
“We send our sincerest condolences to his wife Noleen who is also a Unison member working as a nurse in the ICU Unit.
“The branch officers, stewards, members of Unison Northern Health Branch and Unison Regional Office extended their deepest sympathies to Alan’s family, friends and colleagues.
“We would like to reiterate Noleen’s plea to all of our members to take the Covid crisis seriously, to stay safe and look after each other.”
Last week, Noeleen, a former Larne resident, posted an appeal on social media.
She said: “From March, we as a family have been so careful with the Covid rules and restrictions not only for the susceptible people in my family circle but also for everyone else.
“Unfortunately Alan and I contracted Covid in the last couple of weeks, bar a loss of taste and smell I’m fine but my hubby, the happy go lucky silly eejit of a man that he is, is on life support in ICU.
“What makes things even worse, is I am a staff nurse working there in the same unit having been redeployed back there since March.
“I left ICU initially a couple of years ago thinking that going to work in a community post would give our family more time together having worked in ICU for 20 years but when Covid broke I thought the staff need my experience so I’ll go back to work in the hospital.
“I’ve read so many posts re. the ecomony, education and how difficult it is to stay at home. Really, are these excuses worth a life.
“The economy will recover, the kids will catch up on their education and you will all be let out of lockdown but at the minute I don’t know how long I will have my husband for, my three children will have a father for or my four grandchildren will have a grandad for.
“Please for everyone’s sake, this Covid is real. For myself the symptoms are minor but my hubby is not so lucky. Please be vigilant and don’t take any chances.”
Mr Henry is survived by his wife Noeleen, daughter Amber, sons Jordan and Brad and grandchildren Jack, Avah, Mikey and Theo.
Meanwhile, the Infrastructure, Health and Justice Ministers are urging the community to “stay at home, stay safe and protect the health service” as new restrictions are introduced following the large rise in new Covid-19 cases.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “I would urge everyone to continue to follow the regulations and not let our guard slip by staying at home to save lives and only make journeys when absolutely necessary in line with the current guidance. By doing so, all of us will help to slow the spread of this virus.
Justice Minister Naomi Long added: “It’s often second nature to nip out in the car but we must all stop and ask ourselves if that journey is essential. Where possible, we must all stay at home.
Health Minister Robin Swann commented: “I am heartened by the reduction in traffic across all routes during the period after Christmas. This shows a willingness by the majority of the public to do the right thing and for that, I thank them.
“This data shows a significant drop in traffic from 26 December indicating a compliance with the curfew.
“I sincerely hope everyone continues to listen to the public health advice during the next phase of restrictions. I know this is not easy but I ask everyone to stick with it for the sake of loved ones, the most vulnerable and our health service.”