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Dangerous levels of virus spreading in 13 counties, with Cavan the worst hit


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A doctor wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a man being tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

A doctor wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a man being tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

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A doctor wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a man being tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

The spread of Covid-19 has now reached dangerous levels in 13 counties - with Cavan in a particular state of crisis.

The 14-day incidence of the virus is growing in a huge swathe of the country and worsened yesterday, with Cavan reported as spiralling to 735.1 per 100,00 - the worst in the Republic.

Meath, Monaghan, Donegal and Clare are serious hotspots for the virus as the decisions will be made this weekend on whether to put the country in virtual lockdown after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) warned the spread of the virus was out of control.

Other counties that are at the centre of the surge are Sligo, Cork, Galway, Leitrim, Westmeath, Limerick, Kildare and Wexford.

They all have 14-day incidences of the virus of over 200 per 100,000.

Among the most disappointing is the rate in Dublin - 198.6 per 100,000 - after a month at Level 3 restrictions - signalling so-called soft lockdowns may no longer work.

It comes as 1,000 more cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday and three more people died from the illness.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, who led the Nphet team calling for a move to Level 5 said: "Case numbers are continuing to rise.

"Right now, we need everyone to cut their social contacts to an absolute minimum. Every time you physically interact with another person, you are providing an opportunity for the virus to spread."

Hospitals are under growing pressure and as of 2pm yesterday, 246 Covid-19 patients were on a ward, 30 of whom were seriously ill in intensive care.

The numbers of patients with the virus hospitalised had risen by 13 in the previous twenty-four hours.

Several are already using theatre space to cope with the influx, leaving patients who were on waiting lists for surgery on hold.

Meanwhile, doctors warned yesterday that Covid-19 was no longer under control and if it continued to spread unabated it would be "a catastrophe" for our health system, causing untold suffering to patients with other illnesses.

Dr Ina Kelly a HSE public health specialist in the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said: "We have an extremely short window to avoid our health system becoming overwhelmed."

The IMO, representing over 5,000 doctors across all specialties, called on the public to comply fully with Covid-19 restrictions, saying that another shutdown of our non-Covid healthcare services this year would be a "catastrophe".

She said that departments of Public Health all around the country were under extreme pressure with the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases.

Dr Denis McCauley said that it was essential that people who were awaiting test results self-isolated.

"In general practice, we are seeing increasing calls in relation to Covid-19 but the worrying part is that those people who know they are contacts, or are awaiting tests, are not self-isolating until they get their test results.

He said: "We are seeing a lot of close contacts of confirmed cases not restricting their movements for 14 days after receiving a negative test result.

"This is greatly contributing to the spread of the virus. Even if someone who is a close contact of a confirmed case tested negative every day for 14 days, but they must still self-isolate for those 14 days."

A global survey, which included Ireland, found the pandemic was fuelled by a "perfect storm" of rising rates of chronic diseases and air pollution.

Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in The Lancet medical journal said the rise in obesity and high blood sugar and the growing proportion of regions that had become smog-filled over the last 30 years drove up death rates from Covid-19.

Irish Independent