Covid-19 cluster confirmed in Kildare factory and Direct Provision centre
"This isn't going away. It hasn't gone."
A cluster that emerged at a meat processing plant in Kildare spread to a Direct Provision played a significant role in Ireland's highest daily increase of figures since 22 May.
85 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the Republic of Ireland today, the highest since 115 were reported in one 24 hour period 10 weeks ago.
Speaking at Thursday's Covid-19 briefing at the Department of Health, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn explained that a cluster of the virus emerged in a meat processing plant in Kildare that was shut last Friday.
He said that a Public Health team had been on the ground since, and all staff members were tested.
"Of the cases reported today, at least 18 are associated with a cluster in a factory in Kildare. This factory has been closed since last Friday ... this outbreak has now also been associated with clusters in Direct Provision centres." | https://t.co/UfwRhfAss9 pic.twitter.com/vRUruZScry
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 30, 2020
Local news site Kildare Now are reporting that the factory in question is the Irish Dog Foods plant in Naas.
Dr Glynn also confirmed this evening that a related cluster had emerged in a Direct Provision centre, where two members of staff at the factory are currently living.
Reports suggest that this may be in a Newbridge Direct Provision centre, where 120 asylum seekers are currently living.
Dr Glynn said that the next 24-48 hours will be crucial in seeing whether this sharp rise in figures is a "blip", or part of a trend of increased cases.
He sounded a note of caution in relation to Covid-19 generally;
"This isn't going away. It hasn't gone. We've seen what will happen, by looking at what's happened in other countries, if we relax.
"Ironically the lower the numbers get, the more we need to work at this to keep them there, keep them suppressed."
Dr Glynn also reminded people ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend to ensure they are keeping to the basics of public health advice; frequent hand-washing, good cough/sneeze etiquette, maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering in shops and on public transport and to contact the GP immediately if any symptoms develop.