THE Department of Public Health Mid-West is expressing serious concerns over a community outbreak of COVID-19 linked to social activity in Kilmallock, County Limerick.
Public Health Mid-West has recorded over 20 cases linked to a complex community outbreak in the Limerick town over the past 14 days, associated with social activity in hospitality with onward transmission in multiple settings, including households and workplaces in Kilmallock and its environs.
Preliminary analysis of this outbreak indicates that the social activity was high-risk, involving close contact without masks for a number of hours.
We are urging people in the area to book a free COVID-19 swab at their nearest testing centre if they have symptoms, or if they are concerned that they were exposed to risk of infection in recent days.
We are also urging all people, aged 16 and older, to register for a free COVID-19 vaccine and attend for vaccination as scheduled or avail of the walk-in vaccination clinics over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Follow the HSE website for more information.
We are concerned about the number of people attending bars, restaurants, and cafes while infectious with COVID-19. For example, between July 19 and 25, we are aware of 41 people with COVID-19 infection in the Mid-West region who attended a hospitality setting while they were infectious.
The vast majority of new cases under investigation in Limerick and the Mid-West are complex, meaning there is an increased risk of outbreak or further transmission due to each case having multiple exposures and numerous close contacts. This is leading to investigations that are more resource-intensive than usual.
Dr Rose Fitzgerald, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: “The number of COVID-19 cases is continuing to increase. We continue to see people being admitted to hospital as a result of COVID-19, some of whom in serious conditions. Complex outbreaks are more likely to occur in the coming weeks if people, especially unvaccinated people, continue to act outside the public health guidelines in social settings. I would advise everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines and to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.”