05 Jul 2022

Laois Covid-19 cases double and the incidence is among highest in Ireland with two county hotspots detected


covid-19 laois portlaoise

Covid-19 heat map for the two weeks to July 19. Darker areas shows parts of counties with higher incidences

Laois now has one of the worst incidences of Covid-19 in Ireland as the Delta variant pushed the infection and incident rate up sharply with the Portlarlington to Graiguecullen area showing the highest hike in cases.

The latest Local Electoral Area (LEA) figures as published on July 22 on the Covid-19 Ireland data hub breakdown covers the period from July 6 to July 19.

The situation is relatively steady in Portlaoise where there were 58 new cases. It shows that there were 51 new cases from June 26 to July 12. However, the LEA incidence rate per 100,000 population is up again from 160.4 to 182.4. Portlaoise's rate is below the national incidence of 245.8 per 100 k.

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. It borders Kilkenny.

Portlaoise was the first area of Laois hit by the Delta wave. Both of the other two analysed parts of the county have caught up and passed the town and its surrounds. They are now showing sharp rates of increase in incidence and infections.

The latest figures from the Portarlington Graiguecullen LEA show that the number of cases almost quadrupled.

There were 92 new cases up to July 19 compared with 25 new cases in the 14 days to July 12. The incidence rate has risen from 89 per 100k to 327.4 per 100k. 

Part of Portarlington is in Offaly which means the town could have a higher rate. The same can be said of Graiguecullen which borders Carlow town.

The population in this LEA is 28,096. Apart from the two big towns, it includes Stradbally, Timahoe, Ballylinan, Ballyadams, Killeshin, Crettyard, Killenard, Ballybrittas. It borders Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny and Offaly.

The situation has worsened also in the Mountmellick to Borris-in-Ossory LEA where the population is more spread out than the other two elector areas of Laois.

A total of 55 people tested positive in the two weeks to July 19 which contrast with 21 people testing positive in the  previous two weeks. The incidence has risen sharply again from from 84.7 per 100k by July 12 to 221.7 per 100 k.

In the 14 days to June 28 there were less than 5 cases in the LEA while the rate per 100k pop was also less than 5 cases per 100k. 

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

Health Protection Surveillance Centre figures for all of Laois show the number of new cases in Laois doubled in the two weeks measured with most of the new cases emerging in just one week.

There were 194 new cases in Laois up to July 19. Of these 145 were recorded in the seven days to the end the recording period. There were 99 new cases in the two weeks to July 12. The 14 day incidence is 227 per 100 k but the seven day incidence is 171.2 per 100 k.  The average number of new cases a day over five days is now 23 a day in Laois.

The Laois seven day inicidence is 10 points above the national average but the county's 14 day incidence is below the national 245.8 per 100 k mark. The national rate has risen from 121.8 per 100 k in the previous recording period

It all means that Laois has the sixth worst incidence of the virus in the county just behind Offaly. Donegal has the highest levels of the disease.

Of the 11,707 new infections identified nationally in the two weeks measured, a total of 7,686 infections were detected around Ireland in the seven days to July 19.

A quarter of those newly infected, or 3088, were aged 19 to 24.

Half of all infections are caused by close contacts.

As of 8am July 22, 95 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 23 are in ICU.

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “The Delta variant is now dominant across the EU and, in recent weeks, we have noticed a sharp increase in the level of travel-related cases of COVID-19.

"As disease incidence increases both here in Ireland, and across Europe, it is important that, if you intend on travelling, you are aware of the disease profile in the area you are visiting, as well as the public health measures in place locally.

“Only those who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days should be considering international travel at this time.

“If you have recently returned to Ireland and have any symptoms of #COVID19 including fever, cough, headache, sore throat or a blocked or runny nose then please self-isolate and get tested without delay,” he said.

The HSPC advises that the cyber attack is still having an impact on data. It says the May 14 incident has prevented the routine notification of cases, associated deaths and outbreaks of COVID-19 to Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system.

As an interim measure, provisional epidemiological reports will be prepared based on the information captured by the HSE COVID Care Tracker. 

The HSPC says that as soon as all COVID-19 surveillance systems are restored, surveillance staff in laboratories, the Departments of Public Health and HPSC will work together to retrospectively collate and validate COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and deaths diagnosed and/or notified during this period.

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