Bishop Noel Treanor made his plea at St Peter’s Cathedral in Belfast.
He said as well as coronavirus, there was “the virus of self-centred, heedless egocentrism” and urged people to adopt “thoughtfulness for all”.
“Acting together, with thoughtfulness, we can save lives, lower the infection rate, protect our heath workers and face down fear,” he said.
“For the weeks and months ahead, as individuals and collectively, we need to do all we can to increase our care for the safety, wellbeing and health of all NHS and care workers.
“All who work in our hospitals and nursing homes are under immense pressure – nurses, ambulance teams, paramedics, doctors, surgeons, consultants, administrative and cleaning staff.”
More than 2,700 NI health workers are self-isolating
The Department of Health in NI reported eight further Covid-19 related deaths on Sunday, bringing its total to 653.
There were 896 new positive cases and 317 people are in hospital with Covid – 37 in intensive care, 27 ventilated.
In the Republic of Ireland, four additional deaths related to Covid-19 were reported on Saturday, taking its death toll to 1,882.
Bishop Treanor said with winter approaching and the subsequent rise in hospital admissions, health workers were facing additional pressures.
“There is the pervasive danger of increased levels of societal infection for medical, nursing and all health staff due to public carelessness in failing to carry out the simple measures that mitigate against the transmission of Covid-19,” he said.
“As a society, we cannot afford to contribute to increased risk levels for our health workers when they do their shopping, fuel their cars or carry out all those essential tasks which we all go about every day.
“We need to do all we can to protect them, as we meet and encounter them in public spaces, so that they can protect us, our hospitalised loved ones and neighbours.”
Bishop Treanor said he had “no doubt” the public’s actions during the initial lockdown saved lives and supported health workers.
He urged people to continue to regularly wash their hands, wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“These simple actions will save lives.”
Report courtesy of BBC Ni News