23 May 2022

Portlaoise a Covid-19 hotspot in Ireland as virus accelerates through Laois


Darker shaded areas show where virus is more prevalent

Any notion that Covid-19 is coming under control in Laois is dashed by the latest official figures which reveal Portlaoise is one of the country's hotspots while the other two electoral areas of Laois also have growing incidences of the virus.

The Postlaoise area incidence has risen sharply in the past week while virus spread is also above average in the Graiguecullen Portarlington Municipal District. The Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick area is below average but the incidence has gone up.

Up to date data shows that Laois has the third incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland with 100 cases a day being detected via PCR testing in the county.

The latest Local Electoral Area (LEA) figures published on December 9 show the virus incidence and case number between November 23 and December 6.

The Covid-19 Ireland data hub figures, which are based on health service confirmed positive tests, show that there were 593 cases in Portlaoise alone in the two weeks examined. This compares with 466 new cases in Portlaoise up to November 29 and 457 new cases between November 9 and November 22.

The incidence has risen sharply in the town and surrounds to 1865.1 per 100,000 per population. This level of infection puts Portlaoise among one of the most likely places in the country to catch the virus. Some districts have incidences above the 2,000 per 100 k mark. 

A measure of how bad things have got in Portlaoise can be found in the average incidence of all LEAs in Ireland. It is 1,355.1 per 100 k.

The incidence between November 16 and 29 was 1465.7 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.

The latest figures from the Portarlington Graiguecullen LEA reveal case numbers and incidence is rising again. There were 447 new cases in the two weeks to December 6 giving an incidence of 1591 cases per 100 k. There were 375 new cases in the second half of November in the area giving an incidence of  1334.7 per 100 k.

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

The incidence has shot up again in the Mountmellick / Borris-in-Ossory LEA which, nevertheless, continues to have the best rate in the county.

There were 250 new cases in the fortnight to December 6. This gave an incidence of 1007.8 per 100k reversing the slowing of spread in recent weeks.

There were 178 new cases in the two weeks to November 29 which is below the 228 positive tests in the two weeks to November 22. The incidence had fallen to 717.5 per 100 k by the end of November.

With 24,807 people it includes Rathdowney, Mountrath, Durrow, Castletown, Camross, Errill, Clonaslee and Rosenallis. It borders Tipperary, Offaly and Kilkenny. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) tracks the spread of the disease on a daily basis for NPHET. The latest figures it publishes show that the Laois county situation has worsened again.

Laois has the third highest rate of the virus of any county in Ireland in the two weeks to December 7. It shows that 1310 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the two weeks analysed giving an incidence rate of 1546.7 per 100k.

A total of 727 positive results were returned in the week to December 7 giving a rate of 858.4 per 100k. That's just over 55%, of cases detected over 14 days.

On average, nearly 100 people a day tested positive in Laois between December 3 and 7.

Both the Laois seven day and 14 day incidences are above national averages.

NPHET says day to day variation in the reported number of cases of COVID-19 does not impact on key trend analysis. It says analysing over a longer time period such as a week or 14 days, smooths out any variations introduced by processing times, and provides a more stable picture of the trend. 

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