Covid-19: 337 new cases confirmed in the State

Latest data comes as over 740 cases of disease are reported in Limerick in two weeks

A Covid-19 test centre. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A Covid-19 test centre. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Another 337 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the State.

These latest case figures were reported by the Department of Health on Tuesday evening.

The department also reported that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 now stands at 89, 34 of whom are in ICU, a decrease of one.

A surge of more than 840 cases of Covid-19 has been identified in the midwest region, including more than 740 cases in Limerick over the past two weeks.

Three weeks after the Taoiseach’s announcement on May 10th of a further phased reopening of many businesses, Public Health Mid West said it is investigating 53 cases in 28 workplaces, with an estimated associated 156 close contacts, the majority of whom are in Limerick.

More than 200 cases were identified last week in Limerick followed by 59 cases on Monday.

The latest numbers of people becoming infected with the virus in Limerick is “the sharpest increase in Covid-19 cases since before the onset of the ‘third wave’ in December”.

The increase in cases is being linked to “high-risk social indoor activity, including house parties, family and extended family gatherings and events, small to large household gatherings” as well as “multi-household clusters as a result of social mixing” and “poor and inconsistent infection prevention and control practices at workplaces”.

Outbreaks in creches and schools in the region have been linked to “social activity outside the school setting” and there is evidence that “some children are attending school while infectious with mild symptoms”.

Public Health said that workers “should wear [masks] from the carpark to the desk at all times, even with distancing at work”.

“In communal offices, it will help if you all wear face masks, even while sitting at the desk and even if there are Perspex screens or partitions.”

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said “the figures are of serious concern as we face increasing pressure amid the cyber attack”.

However, Dr Mannix said, despite this, she remained “hopeful that a strong community response of availing of walk-in testing, and being extra cautious with public health guidelines, will put us in a more secure position in the coming weeks”.

She said any Leaving Certificate student “who is a new confirmed case or a new close contact will be at risk of missing exams”.

Due to significant queues at two testing centres in Limerick, Public Health Mid West advised people to instead avail of self-referral walk-in clinics in Nenagh and Ennis.

People with symptoms of Covid-19, and those who are concerned they may have been exposed to a positive case of Covid-19 in the past two weeks may attend the centres.

Children can also get tested if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian, and people must bring a photo ID and provide a mobile phone number to be contacted about results.

In Northern Ireland, a further 54 people have tested positive for Covid-19, the North’s Department of Health said on Tuesday.

There were no further deaths, leaving the total number of fatalities recorded by the department at 2,153.

In the North’s hospitals 20 people are receiving treatment for Covid-19, with two in intensive care.

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