PEOPLE across Limerick have been urged to avoid high-risk social gatherings in the sunshine, with almost 250 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed locally in the last week.
The situation across the region has been described as “precarious” by a leading public health specialist, with the incidence rate up to 226.3 per 100,000 people in Limerick.
The highest number of new cases locally was recorded last Saturday, July 17 while Limerick basked in the sun, as 41 cases were confirmed.
While across the region, the Department of Public Health Mid-West revealed 58 new cases, including in Clare and North Tipperary – the highest number in almost a month on that same day.
Friday saw 25 new cases, Sunday saw 37, while there were 31 on Monday.
Specialist in public health medicine Dr Anne Dee said: “The current epidemiological situation in the Mid-West is precarious as case numbers are increasing rapidly, but vaccination rates are not yet as high as we need them to be.”
She added: “If you are unvaccinated, it’s important you protect yourself by wearing a mask, keeping a social distance, wash hands frequently, avoid large crowds and indoor gatherings and limit your social contacts.”
Despite the increased case numbers, there are just three patients at University Hospital Limerick who have tested positive for Covid-19 – one of whom was in intensive care on Monday.
Across the region, there has now been 259,105 people vaccinated under the UL Hospitals Group vaccination programme – with 19,318 doses administered last week.
Dr Dee said: “We are at a crucial stage of the pandemic where we nearly have enough people vaccinated to achieve a herd immunity among the adult population. But we must remain vigilant, not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of others.
“There are vulnerable people out there who can still die from this disease.”
All this comes in a week where non-essential international travel was once again allowed as the EU Digital Covid-19 certificate became active.
There were busy scenes at Shannon Airport as passengers boarded planes in high numbers for the first time since March 2020 and the first lockdown.
The Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins urged people to remain “sensible and diligent”, however, saying: “We are a long way from being through this pandemic yet.”
“People need to continue to adhere to the guidelines. Enjoy yourselves, but keep in the back of your mind that the pandemic is very much still with us and the Delta variant is very transmissible,” he added.
Meanwhile, Public Health Mid-West has also reported it is investigating an increased number of so-called “complex” cases of Covid-19.
These include positive cases in settings where there is the potential of outbreak or further transmission and largely comes with new cases having multiple exposures.
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