No plans to keep Donegal in more restrictive lockdown despite case figures – Glynn

Areas of county have reported up to five times national average of Covid-19 cases

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The deputy chief medical officer has said there are no plans to keep Co Donegal in lockdown from Monday.

Dr Ronan Glynn was speaking following a spike in the numbers of Covid cases in the county in recent weeks.

He also appealed to those “pushing the boundaries” to stop and to follow public health advice.

Both the Milford and Letterkenny Electoral areas recorded up to five times the national average of incidence of the virus.

Dr Glynn said that last January Donegal had a national incidence of 1,600 per 100,000, and it is now 300 per 100,000

It led to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan to tell a briefing at the Department of Health that levels of compliance in Donegal were concerning compared to the rest of the country.

“The kind of things that even the dogs on the street in Donegal know shouldn’t be happening,” he added.

However, speaking on Wednesday Dr Glynn said the people of Donegal must continue to work together to ensure the numbers in the county go down.

“It will not take much for incidence to fall pretty rapidly in Donegal.

“ This is not about threatening local lockdowns or local restrictions.

“I particularly don’t want to go back there because it’s the last things businesses want to hear.

“That is one of the key reasons we raised the issues when we did raise them so before it gets out of control and whilst it is still possible for the disease to be brought under further control and drive the incidence down in Donegal that it’s done and that people locally hear the messages and do what they can to influence the profile of the disease in the coming weeks,” he said.

Dr Anthony Breslin, Director of Public Health, HSE North West said one outbreak of 84 infections of the virus came as a result of people gathering at a wake.

A further 32 cases of Covid came from one infected person who caught the virus at a family gathering and who then went to work while still awaiting the result of a Covid test.

A further 19 cases spread amongst a group of younger people who had gathered for an 18th birthday party.

Dr Glynn stressed that if people were going to meet in any situation that they at least meet outdoors in the coming weeks as the virus had a much-reduced chance of spreading this way.

On the setting up by gardai of a telephone hotline to report on gatherings among the Donegal public he said anything that was done to engage the community and promote the public health message was good but he held no firm view on the phoneline.

He added that there would not be a public health rationale to introduce more vaccinations to people or to have a quicker rollout in Donegal to stop the high rate of the virus.

“There wouldn’t be a public health rationale to take vaccine away from another county or a particular age group and allocate it to Donegal at this point,” he said.