Covid-19: Dublin and Offaly residents have highest number of close contacts

Number of healthcare workers with Covid-19 continuing to fall, data shows

Dublin residents diagnosed with Covid-19 have the highest number of close contacts, on average, of any county, new figures show.

The latest weekly bulletin from the Central Statistics Office shows people diagnosed with the virus last week had an average of 2.5 contacts, down from five during the week after Christmas. This average was pulled upwards by Dublin residents who had 3.8 close contacts and people in Offaly who averaged 3.4 close contacts.

Offaly has the highest 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 in Ireland, with 450 cases per 100,000 people in the week to March 22nd, according to the Covid-19 data hub.

Hospital Report

Cases in Carlow had the lowest number of close contacts, with just 1.8 on average last week. This was followed by Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois and Monaghan where confirmed cases averaged two close contacts.

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Data for the week ending March 19th shows the number of healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 has continued to reduce, with 88 diagnosed last week, the lowest weekly figure since mid-August. At the peak of the third wave, during the second week of January, there were 2,961 cases of Covid-19 among healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, referrals for testing of children under the age of 15 increased by 59 per cent, but actual case numbers rose by 16 per cent to 814. This younger cohort makes up a fifth of the population but accounted for a quarter of all cases last week, up from 12 per cent of all cases in the second week of December. Weekly cases in the 15-24 age bracket dropped significantly last week, from 706 to 437.

There were 77 people aged over 80 who were diagnosed with the virus last week, a jump from 63 cases the week before. However, this cohort now equates to 2 per cent of all Covid-19 cases, a drop from 4 per cent during the second week of December.

Cases among people aged 65 to 79 dropped from 219 in the week ending March 12th to 199 last week. This cohort represents 6 per cent of all cases, down from 8 per cent during the second week of December.

There were 38 people with Covid-19 who died last week, the lowest weekly number this year. More than 400 people died with the virus in each of the latter two weeks in January, and the number of weekly deaths has continuously fallen since then.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, people aged over 65 accounted for 56 per cent of Covid-19 hospitalisations last week. People in this older cohort represented 87 per cent of deaths last week, while five people who died were aged between 45 and 64.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter