A September spike in new Covid-19 cases in Laois has led to the incidence of the virus in the county rise to a rate where if unchecked there could be a higher number of infections here than in August when restrictions were imposed to slow its spread.
Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) data shows that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by county notified from August 30 to midnight September 12 was 33.
This is incidence rate of 39 per 100,000 of the population. The national average rate is 46.8 per 100,000.
These Laois figures contrast sharply with the HSPC fortnightly report published on September 9.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases notified from August 26 to midnight September 8 was 20 which was an incidence rate of 23.6 per 100,000. The national rate at that point was 38 per 100,000.
The Laois rate on September 8 was not that different from the total number of cases notified in the county from August 19 to midnight September 1. It represented an incidence of 24.8 when the national rate was 33 per 100,000.
The latest figures show that while Laois has an incidence rate below the badly hit Kildare and Offaly, it has now risen above neighbouring Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary.
A total of 22 new cases were identified in Laois in four days from Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 of September.
Laois was placed under tight restrictions on August 8 after a rapid rise in new cases. On August 1 Laois had a total of 305 cases. By August 9 this had risen to 341 cases while on August 18, 364 positive tests had been confirmed since February.
The running total for cases in Laois by September 11 was 413 but five new cases were confirmed the following day with more testing positive by Sunday, September 13.
A total of 79 people tested positive in Laois in August compared with just 21 in July and five in June. If the September infection rate continues unchecked, Laois could end up with more cases than August when two weeks of restrictions were imposed.
Laois GPs have said there has been a surge in test referrals and all surgeries are busier than normal.
The Government is to announce a new plan this week which will target restrictions locally rather than by county as happened in Laois, Offaly and Kildare in August.