By Carmel Hayes
A SUDDEN surge in the number of Laois Covid-19 cases was officially confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.
The increase of nine cases was already flagged yesterday but was not officially added to the county’s total until after 6pm today.
The nine cases, all notified on Wednesday 29 July, represent the biggest daily rise in Laois since last May. It compares with an increase of just six cases in the county for the entire month of June.
The sudden rise brings the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Laois to 282 since the pandemic began.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) also indicated that one further Laois case was reported over the past two days and will be added to the county’s total tomorrow.
Nationally, 38 new coronavirus cases were notified this evening but there were no deaths. The death toll remains at 1,763, while total cases have reached 26,065.
The county breakdown is published later than national figures and relates to midnight on Wednesday 29 July. The national figures are valid for midnight last night, Thursday 30 July.
A statement from the NPHET said that 29 of the 38 cases announced this evening are located in Co Kildare and 82% are aged under 45. About two-thirds (26) are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of confirmed cases.
The statement added: “Over the past two days, a total of 123 cases have been reported, with 44 cases located in Kildare, 33 in Dublin, 11 in Clare, 10 in Laois, 8 in Limerick and the remaining 17 located across 10 counties.
“Of these, 84 cases are linked to known outbreaks or are close contacts of other confirmed cases. At least 19 cases have been identified as community transmission, while 20 cases remain under investigation.”
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said today: “Mass testing has now taken place in relation to a number of known outbreaks. We may be beginning to see more cases which we cannot link to outbreaks or close contacts. The NPHET will continue to monitor this situation closely over the coming days.”
Meanwhile, a national survey of GPs shows that the vast majority of patients who contacted them with Covid-like symptoms in the past week had not been self-isolating since the onset of their symptoms.
Dr Glynn warned: “The importance of isolating as soon as you have any flu-like symptoms cannot be overstated. Without this individual action, we simply will not break the chains of transmission and we will put many people at risk of infection.
“It is important that people know that there is no charge for GP or testing services relating to Covid-19. Please do not hesitate to contact your GP if you have any concerns.”
As the August bank holiday weekend begins, Dr Glynn said: “This weekend, the six key things people need to do are limit the size of your network and time you spend with them, keep your distance, meet up outside if possible, wash your hands, wear a face covering and download the Covid Tracker App.”