Concern expressed over increased number of social gatherings in mid-west

An example of one of the outbreaks mapped by Public Health Mid-West.

Public health officials in the mid-west are expressing concerns over an increasing number of social gatherings in the region.

Public Health Mid-West, which oversees north Tipp, Limerick and Clare, has released details of multiple webs of Covid-19 outbreaks, to highlight how quickly the virus is spreading after non-essential household visits and other gatherings.

In one instance, 61 cases were reported following social gatherings among students in the region. One of these cases worked at a hotel during a wedding, and transmission occurred among 16 wedding guests and work colleagues. Two cases in this further outbreak spread the virus within their households. There was transmission from one home to their extended family. One student in the initial outbreak went on to infect a family member in their household.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “December saw a significant number of social gatherings of all age groups, resulting in a concerning level of illness and death this month. We do not want to repeat that, as we are still managing and investigating outbreaks among our most vulnerable.

“As testing for close contacts resumes, our priority is to bring infection numbers to a minimum in the community. This will allow us to respond effectively to those who need our help the most. While COVID-19 cases are decreasing slowly, we are seeing a widespread adherence to public health guidelines. However, it only takes a small number of incidents to undo the hard work of the majority. It is important not to undo our efforts to date.” Dr Mannix stated.