Dr Mai Mannix, director of Public Health Mid West
COVID-19 infection rates have increased in Clare and across the Mid West in recent weeks and are now at similar levels to what was experienced in January.
In response to the surge in case numbers, the Department of Public Health Mid-West is advising people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary to limit social activity, in order to reduce the level of the disease in the community.
While there is a lower incidence of serious illness and death, largely thanks to vaccination programme, breakthrough infections with serious outcomes are more likely to occur given the current widespread community transmission.
In the 14 days up to Monday, there were 3,374 cases of Covid-19 in the Mid-West region; 1,801 in Limerick, 1,027 in Clare, and 546 in North Tipperary. According to Public Health Mid West, 79% of cases were in people aged 18+, 5% were aged between 12 and 17 while 13% were aged between 5 and 11. Just 3% of cases were in children aged under four.
Public Health Mid-West says it currently is managing outbreaks in nursing homes, long-term residential care facilities, healthcare settings, workplaces, education settings, and a range of settings in the community.
Commenting on the current situation, Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “As a community, we have a lot to be positive about. More than 90% of the eligible population in the Mid-West has received at least one dose of their Covid-19 vaccine. This is exceptionally high in international standards, and this valiant effort is playing a valuable part in curtailing the level of serious illness and hospitalisations," she said.
However, Dr Mannix has warned that a considerable increase in Covid-19 cases can expected, should social activity remain at its current rate. As a result, this will likely result in greater numbers of Covid-19 patients being hospitalised over the winter.
“We can reverse this trajectory by making small changes in our day-to-day activity. We ask that people limit their social activity and social contacts over the coming weeks to help reduce the incidence of Covid-19 in the community. We advise people to continue wearing face masks in busy public places, around older and vulnerable people, and at work. We are seeing a trend of some workplaces dropping their guard in terms of mask-wearing, which is high-risk when Covid-19 is circulating widely in the community," added Dr Mannix.
Public Health Mid West says it has encountered some instances where people with Covid-19 symptoms have purchased an antigen test and have relied on a ‘not detected’ result as a green light to continue normal activity.
"Instead, we ask people with symptoms to self-isolate and book a free PCR test to accurately determine their Covid-19 status,” Dr Mannix advised.
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