Department of Public Health issues pre-Bank Holiday warning of “new COVID-19 outbreaks associated with public gatherings” in mid west region

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DESPITE renewed hope for a phased reopening the Department of Public Health in Limerick has urged people in the mid west region “to exercise extra vigilance this Bank Holiday Weekend”, as it continues to manage new COVID-19 outbreaks associated with social gatherings.  

The 14-day incidence rate in the Limerick Clare North Tipperary region has increased from 103.6 per 100,000 population (March 29) to 125.5 per 100,000 population, after 483 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the past two weeks. 

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“We are currently managing a large number of outbreaks across a wide range of settings in the region; these include outbreaks in families and extended families, multi-household clusters, workplaces, schools, and community outbreaks, said a Department spokesman.

“We would also like to emphasise the importance of keeping daily infection numbers to a minimum ahead of the phased reopening of services and activities in May and June. A low incidence of infection will mean a lower risk of further outbreaks that lead to a disruption or possible closure of services,” he said.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said that, while the latest easing of restrictions to allow for more outdoor activities was as a welcome relief, “it is even more vital that we follow Public Health guidelines, as an increase in social and outdoor activity increases our exposure to possible infection”.

“While infection levels are significantly lower than they were at the peak of the third wave, daily cases should ideally be in low single figures in each county, as we had seen for a short period in April,” Dr Mannix said.

“Social gatherings, including birthday parties and organised indoor gatherings, have contributed to a rise in new cases across the Mid-West. Unfortunately, these type of events have led to a disruption in workplaces, school settings, and people’s lives in general.”

The Department has encouraged people to register and attend vaccine appointments when they are offered one.