23 May 2022

Covid-19 Delta wave testing spike in Laois confirmed with record numbers swabbed taken across the midlands

coronavirus covid-19

Covid-19 testing centre at St Fintan's Health Campus on Portlaoise's Dublin road is the venue for a five day asymptomatic pop-up test centre

Covid-19 testing has reached its highest level in Laois since the worst wave of the pandemic hit Ireland in January, new official figures reveal.

As July draws to a close, the HSE reports that there have been 2,830 swabs in Laois during the month. This is level with the total for April as the third wave began to recede.

While, it is a long way off the nearly 4,000 tests carried out in Laois in January, the rapid spread of the new strain is revealed in by the figure which shows that the 2,065 samples alone were taken in from July 19 to July 25.

The figure falls just short of the 2,885 tests completed in Laois in December 2020 when the third wave hit. It is also less than the 3,204 carried out during last October's second wave.

The sudden spread of the Delta wave in July is confirmed by figures for May (974 tests) and June (872) which were relatively quiet months for Covid-19 in Laois. 

The Leinster Express understands the HSE has had to deploy significant extra resources to meet the demand for testing in the second half of July in the midlands.

A total of 15,878 tests have been carried out in Laois since the start of 2021. This exceeds the total for all of 2020 of 14,573.

Figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre showed that Laois has the second highest indicence of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Laois is part of Community Health Office 8 which also include Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Louth and Meath.

The HSE says the month of July was the busiest month on record  for HSE Covid-19 test centres  with a record number of swabs taken from July 1 to July 28.

It says testing to-day Thursday 29 July will record 40,000 swabs taken to date in the month of July.

Dr Niamh Clarke, Primary Care and Head of Testing in Midlands Louth Meath highlighted the hard work and dedication of the CHO Testing Teams.

“Each and every member of staff worked collectively  and collaboratively to meet the massive testing demand that emerged in July.

“The weather conditions in July were particularly arduous to work in but the testing teams worked tirelessly and committedly to ensure that all members of the public in Counties Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly Louth and Meath were offered a testing appointment with 24 hours of referral,” added Dr Clarke.

Mr Des O’Flynn Chief Officer, HSE Midlands Louth Meath  described the number of tests carried out by the staff in the centres as an “outstanding achievement” in the fight to keep families safe in Covid pandemic times.

He paid tribute to the staff  for their hard work and commitment  at times over seven days a week  and in difficult weather conditions.

Dr Una Fallon, Director of Public Health Midlands stressing the importance of people attending for testing if showing any symptoms also paid tribute to the work of the staff in Testing Centres who ensured through their organisation and hard work that testing was available when needed.


Total CHO8 testing data for past 8 weeks

Week  31st May - 7th June = 5,792 swabs taken
Week  7th -13th June = 5,437 swabs taken  
Week  14th June – 20th June = 5,331 swabs taken
Week  21st  June  - 27th  Jun = 6,424 swabs taken weekly percentage increase = 20.5%
Week  28th June  - 4th July = 7,708 swabs taken weekly  percentage increase= 19.9%
Week   5th July  – 11th  July =  9,568 swabs taken weekly percentage increase= 24.1%
Week 12th July- 18th July =10,437 swabs taken weekly percentage increase= 9.4%
Week 19th  July  -25th July = 11,495 swabs taken weekly percentage  increase = 10.14%

Breakdown of swabs taken last week  in CHO8

Monday 19th  July  = 1,739 swabs taken
Tuesday 20th  July  =1,748 swabs taken
Wednesday 21st July  = 1, 721 swabs taken
Thursday 22nd  July = 1,734 swabs taken
Friday 23rd July  =1,905 swabs taken  
Saturday  24th  July  = 1, 543 swabs taken
Sunday 25th  July= 1,105 swabs taken  

Total swabs taken Mon- Sunday = 11,495

Weekly breakdown per test centre Monday 19th –Sun 25th July 2021

Ardee = 2,273+Drogheda pop up(NAS) 904=3,177
Ashbourne= 2,306
Mullingar =1,555+Athlone pop up 312 (HSE) =1,867
Longford= 747
Portlaoise= 2,065
Total swabs taken Mon 19th  July – Sunday 25th July  = 11,495

Additionally, turnaround times from referral to appointment for persons referred by GPs and as close contacts remained high with 94.3% of all these referrals getting an appointment within 24 hours


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