BREAKING: Covid-19 Christmas New Year surge highest in Portarlington Graiguecullen and jumps also in Portlaoise and Borris-Mountmellick areas

Third-wave sees virus rampant around Portarlington but appears to have steadied in Portlaoise while Borris Mountmellick at pandemic high

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Covid-19 new cases surge in Portlaoise

Local Electoral Area up to January 4 - darker shaded areas reveal highest incidence

Covid-19 spread rapidly in all parts of Laois during the Christmas New Year period with a four-fold increase showing in the Portarlington Graiguecullen, a more than doubling in the south and west of the county while the slowest rate of growth has occurred in Portlaoise. 

The latest Local Electoral Area (LEA) published on January 8 breakdown on the Covid-19 Ireland data hub covers December 22 to January 4. They show that east and north of the county now has one of the highest spread of the disease nationally and is well above the average.

The Covid-Data hub figures shows that there were 138 cases in the Portlaoise LEA in the two weeks surveyed. This compares with 92 new cases in the fortnight up to December 28. This yields an incidence of 434 per 100,000 population. The incidence for the two weeks to December 28 was at 289.4. 

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 is significantly worse in Portarlington Graiguecullen LEA. There were 224 confirmed cases in the two weeks to January 4. This compares to 81 in the 14 days to December 28 when the incidence 288.3 was per 100k. The incidence has now surged to 797.3 per 100 k. 

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 area borders the Edenderry LEA in Offaly which takes in part of Portarlington and includes villages in the hinterland of the border town. It had 124 new cases to January 4 which gave a rate of 531.6 per 100k population.

It also borders Carlow town in the Graiguecullen area. The Muinebeag LEA in Carlow takes in Carlow town. It had 83 new cases over Christmas and New Year which gives a rate of 531 per 100k.

The Athy LEA in Kildare also borders the Port Graigue area. It had 132 new confirmed cases in giving rate per 100k population of 497.3.

The situation has also deteriorated in the west and south of Laois - the Mountmellick to Borris-in-Ossory LEA. The past two weeks have marked one of its worst weeks with the virus which has been the least impacted of the Laois LEAs.

It had 103 new cases in the two weeks to January 4. This produced a rate of 415.2 per 100k population. Most of these cases emerged after Christmas because it recorded 34 new cases in the two weeks to December 28 leading to an incidence of 137.1 per 100 k.

While all areas of Laois have risen above the second wave levels, the Borris - Mountmellick area has shown the biggest increase on the peak experienced in September and October.

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 January 4 jumped to 674.4 per 100 k on the back of 32,112. The incidence nationally in the 14 days before December 28 was 245.6 on the back of 11,697 nationally.

Health Protection Surveillance Centre figures for Laois for in the two week Christmas / New Year period reveal 418 new cases producing a 493.5 incidence per 100 k population. In the 14 days to December 28, the incidence was 225.5 per 100k on the back of 191 new cases. This was a rise from 186.5 on the back of 158 new cases in the two weeks to December 21.

The Laois incidence was just 55.5 per 100 k on November 30 which was the last day of the October to November Level 5 restrictions. Just 45 new cases were reported in the two weeks to November 30.

Up to date figures published NPHET up to midnight, January 5 show that the Republic's overall incidence rate has risen to 936.4 per 100 k population on the back of 44,590 since Christmas Eve.

Laois had 584 new cases up to January 5 giving an incidence rate of 689.5 per 100 k.