Cork, Limerick and the border: new data shows latest Covid-19 hotspots

Cork, Limerick and the border: new data shows latest Covid-19 hotspots

The south-east area of Cork city is now among the top 10 worst-hit areas for Covid-19, according to the latest data. Picture: Larry Cummins

The Belmullet area of Mayo continues to have the highest Covid infection rate nationally, with one in 17 of the population testing positive for the virus in the past two weeks.

The latest data on Covid infection levels in local electoral areas (LEAs) show that the 14-day infection rate has trebled to a staggering 6,031 cases per 100,000 population in Belmullet as of Monday this week.

The infection rate is more than four times the national average, which stood at 1,410.3 cases per 100,000 population on January 11.

The LEA data show that a total of 760 Covid cases were confirmed among the 12,600 people living in the Belmullet area, meaning that about one in 17 people had contracted the virus in the previous two weeks.

The LEA data also shows that infection rates remain high and rising in border counties, such as Monaghan, where the entire county has above average rates of infection, and Dundalk, which has the second highest rate nationally.

Adare-Rathkeale in Limerick has the third highest infection rate nationally and the highest in Munster at 3,118 cases per 100,000 population.

Significant increases were also seen in Enniscorthy in Wexford, where the infection rate increased almost four-fold to 2,766.7 cases per 100,000 population, while rates tripled in Tramore in Waterford to 3,106.6 cases per 100,000 population in the past week.

The south east area of Cork city is also featuring in the top 10 Covid hotspots nationally, following a doubling in the number of cases confirmed in the previous two weeks.

A total of 1,049 cases were confirmed in the south eastern part of the city.

The latest data also shows how the virus has spread rapidly across Munster, in particular in Limerick.

In addition to the Adare-Rathkeale area, the virus is spreading in the Newcastle West area (2,305.2 cases per 100,000 population) and in Limerick city, where rates doubled or almost doubled in the western (2,020.3 cases per 100,000 population), eastern (1,714.7 cases per 100,000 population), and northern (1,693.8 cases per 100,000 population) parts of the city.

The level of infection in the community has put health services under considerable pressure in hard-hit areas such as Limerick, Dublin and Cork.

Dungarvan in Waterford had the lowest infection rate in the country at 492.8 cases per 100,000 population.

More than 71,000 new cases were confirmed in the past two weeks, accounting for almost half of all Covid-19 infections confirmed since the pandemic took hold in March last year.

The infection rates do not reflect the true scale of Covid in the community, as close contacts of positive cases, who are likely to be infected, are not currently being tested in the current surge.

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