COVID-hit Mayo town loses nurse full of kindness breaking news SonDakika-Haberleri.Net
A dark cloud has been cast over a town in the west ravaged by COVID-19 after a ‘kind and gentle’ nurse died after being infected with the virus last week. Locals in Belmullet, Co. Mayo – which has one of the highest rates of the virus in the country – wa...
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A dark cloud has been cast over a town in the west ravaged by COVID-19 after a ‘kind and gentle’ nurse died after being infected with the virus last week.
Locals in Belmullet, Co. Mayo – which has one of the highest rates of the virus in the country – watched in despair at the weekend as Bernie McAndrew’s body was taken away by hearse, as an ambulance arrived to take her husband to hospital.
Mrs McAndrew and her husband Ian, from Belmullet, both contracted the coronavirus last week.
She succumbed to the effects of the virus on Sunday, with a hearse and ambulance pulling up at their house in a desperately sad turn of events.
Locals in the areas were said to be ‘stunned’ by the death, as the small town struggles with a rampant COVID-19 infection rate.
Tributes have poured in for the ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’ nurse.
Local Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle described her as ‘an absolute lady’ and ‘a friend to everyone’.
He added: ‘She was a nurse all her life. But she wasn’t just a speaker, but a listener as well.
‘She’d never push past people and ignore anybody along her way of life.
‘The way it was with Bernie, she’d pull up for a chat.
‘If you were the richest man in the area or the smallest farmer, she’d have the same craic with both. She always shared her time. There’s one thing being a nurse and speaking, but she had the ability to listen.
‘She had the ability to listen to people and understood their problems as a nurse and as a friend.’
Friends of Mrs McAndrew could only look in the window while she was ill due to infection risk.
‘It was so sad with her friends the last day, looking in the window. It was frightening,’ Cllr Coyle said.
He added that he has been in regular contact with husband Ian, who is isolating in hospital and unable to have visitors.
‘I text him every day. He’s just trying to stay strong. Sure what can he do, only sit it out,’ he said.
Ian is very active in the local community and is a passionate Irish speaker and member of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Bernie’s death has come as a major blow to the area, as it grapples with one of the highest COVID-19 incidences in the country. Last week, HSE data showed that one in every 50 people in Belmullet had contracted COVID, giving it the State’s highest 14-day incidence rate.
Some 266 people had the virus out of a population of 12,600, equivalent to an incidence rate of 2,111.1 per 100,000 people – three times the national average.
Cllr Coyle said the town has been struggling to cope with the pressure of the pandemic. ‘It’s getting out of hand. The pressure that’s on people. The pressure that’s on the people looking after them,’ he said.
‘You couldn’t even go into Ian the last day, no-one could go in. I would never wish it on anyone.’
He said many people in Belmullet were contracting COVID-19 with no idea how they got it. Cllr Coyle said: ‘The saddest thing that I’ve seen – some people that were so careful have it. They don’t know how in the name of God they got it.’
The councillor, who has been delivering items to people in self-isolation, said there is a real sense of despair in the town.
He said: ‘I was going around the houses, dropping stuff off, and there’s people looking out the window at you, crying. It’s savage.’
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Carey described Mrs McAndrew as ‘a real lady, a very gentle, kind person’.
He added: ‘Everyone thought the world of her really.
‘I know her husband Ian well, and my heart goes out to him. He’s sick in hospital at the moment which is very, very difficult.’
Mrs McAndrew was a keen golfer and was the most recent lady captain at Belmullet Golf Club.
Cllr Carey said: ‘She was really good to the young golfers, the beginners, very helpful to them. And very helpful to everyone.
‘Always kind and made time to speak to everyone. Especially after leaving her nursing career, she was very compassionate and very good.
‘Everyone knew her. She was friendly and outgoing to everyone. She had time to chat with everyone whenever she met people. It’s devastating news for the whole area.’
He added: ‘Once it broke that she had died, that put a cloud over the whole area. That was the sad news that broke. Everyone was just so sorry to hear about it.’
Mrs McAndrew’s requiem funeral Mass took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Belmullet yesterday.