BREAKING: Covid-19 remains high in Portlaoise, surges in Portarlington Graiguecullen and on the up in Borris-Mountmellick

Laois areas in precarious Covid-19 position going into 2021 as new figures show continued third wave spread

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Covid-19 new cases surge in Portlaoise

Local Electoral Area up to December 28 shows half of Laois in the darkest shade which means highest incidence.

Laois heads into 2021 in a precarious Covid-19 situation following publication of the latest figures which show the incidence rising in two fo the three local electoral areas.

The latest Local Electoral Area (LEA) breakdown on the Covid-19 Ireland data hub covers December 14 to 28. They show that two of the county's three districts have are now categorised in areas with the highest spread of the disease nationally.

Data published on New Year's Eve reveals the deterioration in Portlaoise has stabilised but the incidence and number of new cases remain high. Of more concern is that the situation has also worsened in the other two electoral areas.

There were 92 new cases in the Portlaoise LEA in the fortnight up to December 28. This is the same number in the previous recording period up to December 21. A total of 42 cases recorded in the two weeks to December 14. This means that in December alone there will have been more than 200 new cases in the Portlaoise area.

The incidence in what is the most populated electoral area of Laois had fallen to 40.9 in the two weeks to December 7 when Level-5 measures ended but jumped to 289.4 per 100,000 in the period to December 21.

The incidence for the two weeks to December 28 remains at 289.4. This may be an underestimate as health authorities say testing reduced during the Christmas period.

The population of the Portlaoise LEA is 31,794 people with more than 20,000 living in the county town environs. It includes Abbeyleix, Ballyroan and Ballinakill.

The situation also worsened in Portarlington Graiguecullen LEA in the 14 days with 81 new cases confirmed. This contrasts with 48 new cases in the previous two weeks. It means that the incidence up to December 28 is now close to that of Portlaoise at 288.3 per 100k. The incidence up to December 21 was 170.8 per 100k. 

The population in this LEA is 28,096. It includes Stradbally, Timahoe, Ballylinan, Ballyadams, Killeshin, Crettyard, Killenard, Ballybrittas. It borders Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny and Offaly.

The situation has also deteriorated in the western side of the county - the Mountmellick to Borris-in-Ossory LEA. While it is the least impacted by the virus of three Laois areas, there have, nevertheless, been 34 new cases in the past two weeks leading to an incidence of 137.1 per 100 k.

There were 24 new cases in the previous fortnight giving a rate per 100 k of 96.7.

The district is less populated, with 24,807 people and includes Rathdowney, Mountrath, Durrow, Castletown, Camross, Errill, Clonaslee and Rosenallis. It borders Tipperary, Offaly and Kilkenny.

The national incidence in the two weeks to December 28 was 245.6 on the back of 11,697 nationally.

Health Protection Surveillance Centre figures for Laois for the same recording period was 225.5 on the back of 191 new cases. This is a rise from 186.5 on the back of 158 new cases in the two weeks to December 21.

This is a stark contrast to the Laois incidence of 55.5 per 100 k less than a month ago on the last day of the October to November Level 5 restrictions. Just 45 new cases were reported in the two weeks to November 30.

None of the three Laois areas have hit the second wave high mark which peaked in October. However, NPHET and the Government are working on the basis that the third wave will be worse.

Up to date figures published NPHET up to midnight, December 29 show that the Republic's overall incidence rate has risen to 272.7 due to 12,987 new cases in the previous two weeks.

Laois had 201 new cases up to December 29 giving an incidence rate of 237.3 per 100 k.

All three Laois districts border the Castlecomer LEA in Kilkenny where the situation continues to worsen. Its incidence rate jumped again to 475 per 100 k with 112 cases up to December 28. Part of Laois also borders Muinebeag LEA in Carlow which also has a high incidence - 287.9 per 100 k on the back of 45 new cases.