A map by the government showing rates of Covid over the past 14 days, with the darker colours showing higher rates
The area of Laois which includes Portarlington and Graiguecullen and borders Offaly, Carlow town and Kildare has the highest incidence of Covid-19 in the county but the biggest number of cases have been reported in the Portlaoise area.
The latest 14-day local electoral data the Covid-19 Ireland hub shows at the incidence rate per 100,000 population from October 6 to 19. This is a yardstick used to measure the spread of the disease.
The latest figures recorded before Level 5 but during Level 3 show dramatic increases in the spread and number of cases in all parts of Laois in just three weeks.
On the eastern side, the Graiguecullen Portarlington Local Electoral Area also had 72 cases over the two weeks. This gives a rate of 256.3 per 100k. This contrasts to the last two weeks of September when the rate per 100k population 21.4 - the lowest in Laois at the time. The total population of this area is 28,096.
The Portlaoise Local Electoral Area, which stretches down to Abbeyleix and Ballinakill, has a rate of 229.6 per 100 k on the back of 73 cases in two weeks. Again this contrasts to a rate of 78.6 per 100k in late September when the national average rate of 70.7. There were 25 new confirmed cases counted from September 8 to 21 in Portlaoise. The area has a total population of 31,794
In comparison, the western side of Laois, the Mountmellick to Borris-in-Ossory Local Electoral Area, has the lowest rates and totals though the incidence has also risen sharply in the least densely populated part of the county.
A total of 36 cases were confirmed from October 6 to 19 giving a rate of 145.1. A total of six new cases were confrmed in the final two weeks of September which gave a rate per 100k population of just 24.2. The total population of LEA is 24,807.
That national incidence rate to October 19 is 279.3. The incidence rate in Laois was 199.5 on the back of 169 cases up to October 19. The latest figures from NPHET to October 22 show the incidence rate rising in Laois to 219.6
The current data is significantly higher than a month ago. The figures, which are based on the Health Protection Surveillance Centre bi-weekly returns on the disease, are published daily. Its report for September 8-21 showed that there were 38 cases in Laois in the second two weeks of September. This gave an incidence rate of nearly 45 per 100,000.
The HSPC report published for the two weeks up to September 27 shows the number of new Laois cases fell back to 27 giving a rate of nearly 33 per 100,000.