A NUMBER of students in Limerick will be unable to sit their leaving certificate examinations next week having contracted Covid-19 or having been identified as a close contact.
The Department of Public Health Mid West has confirmed a small number of students are among those affected by the recent surge in cases of the disease which has seen the incidence rate rise to above 400 (per 100,000 population).
A meeting took place this Friday afternoon between the Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holan and politicians from across the city and county. Representatives from Public Health Mid West also attended.
"I would like to extend my gratitude to the Minister and representatives in Limerick for their meaningful engagement on the current Covid-19 situation in Limerick this evening," said Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid West who added that a local lockdown is not currently on the agenda.
“The Chief Medical Officer has made no recommendation to implement additional restrictions in Limerick following an extensive analysis of the widespread community surge in the region, which is largely connected to outbreaks in Limerick city. While this will be a welcome relief for many people, we now have a collective responsibility to be extra safe this Bank Holiday Weekend, so that we can curtail this large community outbreak quickly. If high-risk indoor activity continues, we will see an increase in cases and may find ourselves in a more troubling position," she commented.
Very constructive meeting with public reps and health officials on Covid in Limerick. Asking people not just in the county but all over the country to really stick to public health guidelines and we'll enhance testing and tracing in the coming days. We can all #holdfirm— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) June 4, 2021
According to Public Health Mid West, the catalyst for the current surge is cases was indoor gatherings, including household visits, organised small to large social events, family and extended family gatherings, birthday parties and house parties.
"This has had a significant knock-on effect in the community, adversely affecting settings such as workplaces and schools. We are aware of a number of outbreaks that have led to local businesses and schools to temporarily close. These clusters have compounded active outbreaks in the community. Additionally, we are aware of a small number of Leaving Cert students who will miss out on examinations next week as a result of being a confirmed case and close contact," said a spokesperson.
Dr Mannix says the people of Limerick have shown immense resilience and resolve since the start of this pandemic and she is appealing to everyone to comply with the public health guidelines "to prevent an unmanageable surge in the community" over the coming weeks.
According to HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare data, more than 17,000 people have availed of free walk-in testing at the two Covid-19 centres in Limerick since May 16.
Following this Friday's crisis meeting, the Minister for Health confirmed that testing capacity at the pop-up clinic at St Joseph's Health Campus, Mulgrave Street, will be doubled from Saturday and that a second pop-up clinic will be set up in Limerick next week.
The test centre at Ballysimon Road also remains open.
It has also been confirmed that currently there is no evidence that any of the newer variants of Covid-19 are driving the increase in cases in Limerick.
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