Fifty-six Covid-19 cases linked to man who failed to isolate after trip abroad

Cases in sports team and up to 10 homes linked to man who did not restrict movements

Information on Covid-19 posted in Dublin Airport. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Information on Covid-19 posted in Dublin Airport. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

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A man who failed to restrict his movements after returning to Ireland from a trip abroad led to at least 56 people being infected with coronavirus, including up to 10 households and a sports team.

The sobering “real example” of how Covid-19 can quickly spread within the community was revealed Monday in a report published by the Department of Public Health, Mid West, as the region surpassed its 3,000th case.

“In total, 56 cases were infected from the index case, affecting up to 10 private households and a sports team,” the report stated.

The index case “was abroad on his holidays but he did not restrict his movements as per the current HSE guidelines when he got home”.

At first he had “mild symptoms including a runny nose and a mild sore throat”, and his “temperature was normal”.

“He felt reassured by this and socialised with a group of friends and he later tested positive for Covid-19. However, by this stage he had already infected a number of his friends; three of these friends went on to infect their families.

“Another friend who he infected felt unwell and contacted her GP to arrange a Covid-19 test. She had the test in the morning but by afternoon she felt a bit better and decided to go to a friend’s party.

“After the party, she got her test result and it was positive. By attending the party while waiting for her test result, she ended up infecting a number of other people.”

As the index case “has a close extended family who visit each other’s houses regularly, this led to some extended family members also getting infected with Covid-19.

“One of his extended family members who had no symptoms played a match with his local team and a number of his teammates were infected as a result.”

The team members then went on to infect “a number of people”.

Confirmed cases

There were 1,894 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the region up to and including midnight September 19th, of which 293 had been hospitalised and one in five were healthcare workers.

That figure has jumped by more than 1,100 in the past four weeks.

Up to August 1st there were 93 deaths in the region, of which 80 were classed as “confirmed cases” and 13 were “probable or possible cases”.

The median age at death was 83 years; six (6.5 per cent) of the cases who died were admitted to intensive care units; and the majority of cases (88.2 per cent) who died had an underlying clinical condition.

The report also highlighted “the significant underinvestment in an appropriate national IT [information technology] case and outbreak management system for public health”.

It said the department had “struggled in the absence of an appropriate IT infrastructure” and that “to ensure that we can tackle Covid-19 in an effective, timely and efficient manner, processes, communication, staffing and ICT all need to be improved going forward”.