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06th Aug 2020

Covid-19 warning issued to residents of Kildare, Laois and Offaly

Rob O'Hanrahan

226 cases have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly in the last 14 days.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has asked people living in counties Laois, Kildare and Offaly to “double down” and maintain the basic public health measures after Covid-19 case numbers significantly rose in these counties in the last fortnight.

49 of the 69 confirmed cases notified on Thursday occurred in these three counties; 22 cases are located in Offaly, 19 in Kildare and 8 in Laois. Dr Glynn also said this evening that approximately 60 more cases in these counties are being contact traced and will be part of tomorrow’s numbers.

In these numbers, there are four significant outbreaks in meat processing plants and three in Direct Provision centres.

GPs in the three counties were written to by the Department of Health on Thursday afternoon to highlight the concerns around the increase in cases.

“While contact tracing of these cases is ongoing, and we await further detail, they do come on the back of an already significant number of cases and clusters in these counties”, Dr Glynn said at a Department of Health briefing on Thursday evening.

“Over the past 14 days, 226 cases have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent 48%, or almost half, of all cases notified in Ireland in that time period”, he continued.

Dr Glynn said that NPHET will continue to review this situation very closely, and will provide more specific detail and guidance on Friday.

The ACMO asked people in these three counties to redouble their efforts;

“People in this region should now double down on the basic public health behaviours that are so important, including always keeping a distance of two metres from other people.

“Do not go into crowded spaces, wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds at a time and wear a face covering where necessary.”

In relation to older people and those more vulnerable to the virus living in these counties, Dr Glynn advised that they limit their contacts to a “very small network” for a short amount of time, and to remain physically distanced. If exercising outside, Dr Glynn again recommended two metres distance from others and to wash hands upon return, and to avoid public transport where possible.

Dr Glynn also urged anyone, particularly in these counties, to be aware of the symptoms of Covid-19, and to self-isolate and contact their GP immediately if they develop any of a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above), a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste or any flu-like symptoms.

Dr Glynn also asked those who are close contacts of a confirmed case to present for a test if contacted by a Public Health official.