Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn
A SURGE in outbreaks from social gatherings, house parties and family clusters has led to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Limerick, as the region experiences its largest wave of new cases since April.
This comes after Ireland’s acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, delivered a stark warning to the people of Limerick, signalling that the county could face renewed restrictions if coronavirus numbers continue to rise. There were 19 new cases reported in Limerick last night.
Yesterday, the Cabinet agreed that pubs that do not serve food are to reopen on September 21. However, this will be subject to local restrictions.
According to exclusive figures received by the Limerick Leader, there were 66 new cases linked to a total of 18 outbreaks in Limerick in the past two weeks, as of Friday afternoon.
There were five community outbreaks from social and party gatherings, eight outbreaks in family clusters, four workplace outbreaks, and one workplace-related outbreak.
“Within these outbreaks secondary transmission was evident from social gatherings into private family homes and workplaces,” a spokesperson for the HSE told the Leader.
The Leader asked the HSE for this information after Prof Philip Nolan, a chairperson with National Public Health Emergency Team [Nphet] said at a press conference that there were “a significant number of large outbreaks in that city”.
Last week saw more than 70 new Covid-19 cases in Limerick, the highest weekly increase since the week of March 20. Over the past two weeks, there have been 116 new cases, accounting for 7% of new cases nationwide.
According to HSE data, updated as of August 12, the city centre and suburbs have been the most negatively affected. The Ballycummin and Mungret district has in the region of 67 confirmed cases, while the Ballysimon district has in the region of 57 cases.
While every electoral district has had a confirmed case, commuter villages and towns have been more negatively affected than the more rural communities. The Annacotty and Lisnagry area has seen 21 confirmed cases so far, 15 in Newcastle West, 14 in Rathkeale, and 13 in Clarina. Border districts in Clare, such as Kileely (Meelick and surrounding areas) has had 57 cases, while Ballyglas (Ardnacrusha, Parteen and surrounding areas) has seen 53 cases.
This week Dr Glynn said they are “particularly concerned about Dublin and Limerick. We have seen an increase in those two counties in particular over the past number of weeks.
“Really, I suppose, it’s a message tonight to people in those counties that, really, the next week is vital, and people really need to cut down their social contacts over the next week. We need to take all of the precautions over the next week in those counties. They need to assume now, again unfortunately, that Covid is circulating in the community and act appropriately. If they do not, we will see an increase in cases, and we will be back into places that we don’t want to be over the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, Donall O’Keeffe said it was “about time” that the Cabinet moved to reopen pubs on September 21. He added that it feels “there was little justification for the Government to have repeatedly delayed the reopening”.