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Coronavirus cases up at staycation spots as doctors worry about test no-shows

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Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Colin Keegan

Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Staycation favourites Kerry and Sligo are among the counties that have seen a rise in Covid-19 cases as more holidaymakers opt for a break at home.

Sligo went from having 138 to 148 cases, while Kerry's number of infections went from 310 to 316 in the week up to last Sunday, figures show.

Galway is another county that has seen a rise, up from 465 to 492.

It is unclear how much tourist traffic is behind the higher numbers or whether it is due to greater movement of people within the counties as they enjoy the freedoms of easing lockdown.

It comes as official figures yesterday showed another 17 people were diagnosed with the virus and another person has died from the infection.

"I appreciate how difficult it is for people to limit their social activities and to physically distance from friends and loved-ones," said Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer.

"These actions are vital to our collective effort to suppress this highly infectious disease as we work towards reopening our schools and our healthcare services, and to protect our healthcare workers who have been at the frontline of this pandemic over the past six months."

Earlier, HSE chief Paul Reid said there are "significant and worrying trends" in infection numbers over the last 10 days.

"That is felt among our medical staff and public health teams," he added.

"We take from July 5 until July 18 and compared that to the previous 14-day period [and] it shows 267 total confirmed cases in that period compared 155 in the previous 14-day period.

"The median age [of confirmed cases] is now 33, with 77pc less than 45 years of age.

"The majority of cases are in Dublin, followed by Kildare and Cork. GP referrals showing significant increase in referrals, with an increase of 20pc. Close contacts have increased by 55pc, from two to 5.4 for each case."

He was particularly worried at the number of people who were not turning up either for an initial 'day zero test' for Covid-19 or a later day seven test. He said the no-show for the first test was around 25pc and as high as 50pc for the day seven test.

"It is really important to understand that a person may test negative in the day zero test but could test positive on the day seven test.

"It is important for the public to understand that one-in-10 close contact cases will most likely have positive test result when first tested."

Meanwhile, the findings of a major survey by Mental Health First Aid Ireland have revealed the mixed impact of the lifestyle changes on the population. More than half of the respondents said they loved the autonomy of working from home, while 34pc said they felt more motivated. Some 53pc agreed that they felt valued by their employer and almost three-quarters felt trusted by their employers.

However, when asked about their mental wellbeing, they cited poor sleep and increased fatigue. Some 40pc reported loss of sleep due to worry and half said they experienced more fatigue than usual.

Meanwhile, diet and exercise have also been affected with 24pc admitting to drinking more alcohol.

Nearly a third admitted they are eating a less healthy diet and 40pc said they are exercising less. It called for more support for those who fall into high-risk groups.

Irish Independent