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BREAKING: Acting CMO hails reduction of Covid-19 incidence rate in Limerick

BREAKING: Acting CMO hails reduction of Covid-19 incidence rate in Limerick

The acting chief medical officer has urged members of the public across the country to follow the example of Limerick people in their efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Ronan Glynn's comments come as new figures show the 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 in Limerick has fallen for a second day in a row and is now close to half the national rate.

According to the latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there were 75 confirmed cases of the disease in Limerick in the fortnight leading up to Monday.

This equates to an incidence rate of 35.5 per 100,000 population - compared to a rate of 63.1 just over a week ago.

The 14-day rate nationally is 70.7.

At a Department of Health press conference this Wednesday, the acting chief medical officer cited what has been achieved in Limerick over the past number of weeks.

He told reporters the trend in Limerick is an example of how the spread of disease can be successfully reduced.

"This week, we have a particular focus in Louth, on Donegal, on Waterford and the northern part of Wicklow and the eastern side of Kildare. We've seen an increase of cases in Cork, an increase in cases in Galway. Equally, we have seen an improvement in the situation in Limerick, an improvement in the situation in Tipperary, an improvement of the situation in Leitrim. These improvements happened because people responded to our advice. We are hopeful we can see improvements again," he added.

Meanwhile, the HPSC has also confirmed that two more people with Covid-19 have died. It means there has now been a total of 1,794 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

Some 234 new cases of the condition have also been confirmed this Wednesday. It brings to 33,675 the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland.

It's not yet clear whether any of the new cases today are from Limerick, with the HPSC saying that 17 incidences are spread across 10 counties. These counties have yet to be confirmed.

103 of today's cases are in Dublin, 30 are in Donegal, 22 are in Galway, 21 are in Cork, 13 are in Wicklow, 12 are in Louth, nine are in Kildare and eight are in Meath.

Of the new cases, 115 are men and 119 are women. Some 68% are under 45 years of age. Almost half are confirmed to be associated with an outbreak or are close contacts of a confirmed case. Some 34 cases have been identified as community transmission.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Glynn said: "The single most important thing that people all across the country need to do now is to reduce their social contacts. We all need to cut down on discretionary social activities. Meeting fewer people means fewer opportunities for the virus to transmit. Please prioritise who you choose to meet and try to keep your social network as small as possible."

Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer at the HSE, said: "Earlier in this pandemic, we succeeded in flattening the curve through a common purpose and solidarity. Now, we face the more difficult task of suppressing the virus again while trying to protect education and healthcare settings. Every time you reduce your contacts, avoid a crowd, or choose to meet outdoors, or remember to keep your distance, know that you are a part of the frontline that protects our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and other staff working hard for us all in the Irish healthcare system."

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet)'s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: "While 14-day incidence and daily incidence have stopped rising in the last few days, it is too early to conclude that there has been any change in the pattern of disease. The reproduction number over the last two weeks remains high, at between 1.5 and 1.7, growth rate between 5 and 6.1, and doubling time between 12 and 14 days.

"If we are starting to suppress the virus again, it is essential that we maintain this effort: limit our social contacts, limit mixing between households. The next ten days are critical," he said.

Six new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Limerick yesterday, with zero being reported the previous day. On Sunday, there were four new cases while Saturday saw five new cases being reported in Limerick.

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