The Department of Public Health Mid-West is expressing concern over a pattern of household clusters, as more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Limerick since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement released this morning, the Department said: “As of January 16, 2021, there have been 16,688 COVID-19 cases recorded in the Mid-West; 10,034 in Limerick, 4,442 in Clare, and 2,212 in North Tipperary. The majority of infections were recorded in January and February this year.”
Since the B117 strain has become the dominant COVID-19 variant in Ireland, we have noticed a concerning pattern where single cases are rapidly leading to whole household outbreaks. In many instances, we are seeing household outbreaks spread to extended family, workplaces, and further community clusters. In some cases, we have seen sections of housing estates and a number of apartments within the same building becoming infected due to social mixing.
However, we have noticed that the wearing of masks and distancing measures within households has helped prevent the spread of infection.
“Household transmission is becoming a significant factor COVID-19 infection in the Mid-West region.”
Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “Household transmission is becoming a significant factor COVID-19 infection in the Mid-West region.
“A large number of new clusters are arising out of regular household visits, across all age groups. Whether it’s having tea at a friend’s or watching a sports game together at the weekend, all forms of social contact in a household and can and will lead to outbreaks amid current continued community transmission.
Our incidence rate in the Mid-West has fallen considerably since Level 5 restrictions were implemented in early January. At the peak of the Third Wave, there were 901 new cases on January 2, which dropped to 23 new cases on February 2. We are still managing serious outbreaks in long-term care facilities and workplaces. The new variant seems to be more transmissible with higher numbers of infections from each new case.
For updated and factual Public Health information and advice on the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, please visit hse.ie/coronavirus or call 1850 24 1850