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19/09/2021

Concern over rise in Covid figures in Clare as number of cases linked to outbreak in Limerick town doubles

Concern over Covid-19 outbreak in Clare as number of cases linked to outbreak in Limerick town doubles

The Department of Public Health Mid-West is urging people in the Ennis area of County Clare to be extra vigilant and to avail of free Covid-19 testing if they are experiencing symptoms or feel they have been exposed to risk in the past 14 days. 

There has been a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in Clare over the past two weeks, with 164 cases detected in the same period. This day last month, there were 79 cases detected in Clare in a 14-day period.

While cases have been largely sporadic in the community, Public Health Mid West is alerting the public to an outbreak of at least 10 cases in the Ennis area.

"We can confirm that testing is being offered to known individuals and groups, and that Public Health Mid-West is endeavouring to carry out contact tracing as efficiently as possible," said a spokesperson. 

Due to the current level of infection in the Mid-West region, coupled with the high rate of complex cases, investigating all individual cases and their close contacts is resource intensive at present.

People are being urged to be upfront and honest with contact tracing teams about the full extent of their activities and close contacts. Otherwise, outbreaks in the community are more difficult to prevent and contain.

Dr Anne Dee, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: “The people of Clare have been among the leaders in keeping COVID-19 at a minimum in their communities since the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, outbreaks in the community will become more frequent. However, they can be contained if people are able to follow Public Health guidelines, make known their close contacts, thereby swiftly breaking further chains of transmission. It is equally important to know if you are fully vaccinated, are not showing symptoms, and are following Public Health advice, you can be assured that you are best protected from Covid-19.”

In a separate development this week, it has emerged the number of people affected by a Covid-19 community outbreak in Kilmallock has grown to 51 – from a reported 20 this day last week.

The Department of Public Health Mid-West has warned the outbreak is likely to remain active in the weeks to come – and urged a “strong response” from the community.

It said its preliminary analysis of the outbreak would indicate it was “high-risk social activity” and has caused “significant onward transmission.”

“To get it under control, we will need a strong response from the community; to follow public health guidelines and to register for a vaccine as soon as possible. We are also urging anyone from Kilmallock and the surrounding areas to book a free Covid-19 swab at a test centre if you have symptoms or are concerned you may have been exposed to infection in the past 14 days,” a spokesperson added.

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