THE Department of Public Health Mid-West is urging the people of Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary 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 Mid-West 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.
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.
Public Health Mid-West 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.
Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “The latest easing of restrictions to allow for more outdoor activities has come as a welcome relief to many people who have made so many sacrifices over the past 15 months. However, this means 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. 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,” Dr Mannix concluded.
This Bank Holiday Weekend, you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your community by:
- Avoiding high-risk social settings, including indoor gatherings, household visits, and large outdoor gatherings
- Limiting the number of social contacts
- Wearing a mask when in contact with others
- Keeping a social distance of at least two metres
- Arranging a test through a GP if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Your household should isolate as a precaution pending test results
- Ensuring your child avoids high-risk social settings, such as playdates, indoor gatherings, organised social events, or household visits
We also encourage everyone to register and attend your appointment for your COVID vaccine when your age group or cohort is offered the vaccine – protect yourself and others.