THE incidence rate of Covid-19 in Limerick has exceeded the 500 mark as cases continue to increase locally and nationally.
As 2021 begins, new figures show that there are 53 new confirmed cases of the disease in Limerick - bringing the total figure to 987 over the last 14 days.
The incidence rate has gone up from 495.1 per 100,000 people over 14 days last night, to 506.4 this New Year's Day evening. The national average stands at 321.03.
Last night, a record 203 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the city and the county.
Nationally, 11 more people have lost their lives from the disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,248 nationally.
Across the country, there are 1,754 new cases confirmed, bringing the overall total to 93,542 since the onset of the pandemic last March.
Of today's new cases, 846 are men and 900 are women. Some 64% are under the age of 45, with the median age being 35 years.
The majority of cases have been reported in Dublin, which has 523. There are 296 in Cork, 180 in Galway, 104 in Mayo, 94 in Kerry, with the remaining 557 cases spread across all other counties.
This includes Limerick with 53, Tipperary with 20 and Clare with 19.
As of 2pm today, some 504 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 47 are in intensive care.
There have been 46 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “The most concerning trend at present is the rapidly increasing number of people being admitted to hospital - we are now admitting between 50 and 70 people a day to our hospital system. Unfortunately, we expect this to get worse before it gets better. Our health system will not continue to cope with this level of impact."
"We have also seen a significant increase in positive laboratory tests in recent days reflecting a true increase in the incidence of the disease as well as the delay in people coming forward for testing over the Christmas period. As our systems catch up with these effects it places significant pressure on our reporting system," he added.
"We have always understood that numbers of positive tests or confirmed cases would be a less reliable indicator over the Christmas period. This is typical of infectious disease reporting annually over the two weeks of Christmas and New Year.
What is clear are the measures that the Government has now mandated and the behaviours that we as individuals need to observe. Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care.”
Prof Philip Nolan, Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, added: “Tests processed and reported on a given day will normally be validated and confirmed by the HPSC the following day. Positive tests detected in laboratories require validation (to remove duplicates and other tests that do not create new cases) and transfer to the HPSC database before confirmation and reporting."
"A very large volume of positive tests in recent days means there is a delay in formal reporting. In excess of 9,000 additional new cases will be reported over the coming days. The reporting delay does not affect case management or contact tracing or our overall monitoring and modelling of the pandemic.”