Kildare replaces Donegal as county with highest rate of Covid-19

Fall in Donegal a result of a ‘strong response’ from local communities, Donnelly says

Dublin has the third highest incidence rate at 198 per 100,000 people. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin has the third highest incidence rate at 198 per 100,000 people. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Kildare now has the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in the State, following a drop in the spread of the virus in Co Donegal over the last two weeks.

Donegal previously had a 14-day incidence rate of 300 per 100,000 people, close to double the national rate at the time.

Co Kildare has since overtaken Donegal as the county with the highest infection rate of Covid-19, with an incidence of 251 per 100,000.

The current 14-day incidence in Donegal, which is the rate the virus is spreading at, stands at 240 per 100,000.

Dublin has the third highest incidence rate at 198 per 100,000 people, and the national incidence is currently 129, according to figures up to May 11th.

Last week, Newbridge, Co Kildare had the fourth highest local Covid-19 incidence, 484 per 100,000, according to figures broken down by local electoral area.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the recent fall in the rate of the virus in Donegal had been a result of a “strong response” from local communities.

Previously public health officials had expressed concern at growing rates of the virus in Donegal.

In late April, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan criticised clear non-compliance with public health measures in the county. He said people were doing “the kind of things that even the dogs on the street in Donegal know shouldn’t be happening.”

Catherine Murphy, Social Democrats co-leader and Kildare North TD, said the rate in Kildare had been “consistently high” throughout much of the pandemic.

There had been a number of outbreaks in recent weeks, one traced to a school, and another to a construction site for Intel’s new manufacturing facility in Leixlip, which was linked to 70 cases.

“We know there was a big outbreak in Intel, and we know it takes time to break the chain, it takes time for it to be contained,” Ms Murphy said.

There was a need for a “targeted approach” from public health to the high rates in the county, she said.

Kildare also had a “disproportionately young population,” with rates of Covid-19 generally higher among younger cohorts, she added.

Cathal Berry, Independent TD for Kildare South, said the county had always had a “background high level” of Covid-19, due to several reasons.

There were a number of meat processing plants in the county, and its proximity to Dublin and large commuter population was also a factor in the high incidence rate.

There had been some delays getting the mass vaccination centre in Punchestown up and running, meaning it was “a little later than others” vaccinating people, he said.

Mr Berry called for pharmacists in Kildare to be brought into the vaccine rollout on a trial basis, ahead of a decision to utilise pharmacies in the vaccine programme nationwide.