By Carmel Hayes
ANOTHER 23 Covid cases in Laois were announced this evening.
The latest increase, for the 24 hours up to midnight last night (Saturday), is the county’s third highest daily rise this month.
It brings to 644 the total number of cases in Laois since the pandemic began.
It follows even larger spikes of 28 on Friday 2 October and of 32 on Wednesday 14 October, which was the highest daily rise ever recorded in Laois.
Today’s figures give Laois a current Covid incidence rate of 173.6 per 100,000 people, up from 151.1 yesterday. This compares to a national incidence of 251 per 100,000 people.
Despite the surge in cases here this month, Laois comes 20th out of the 26 counties in terms of Covid incidence per 100,000 people. Only six other counties have a lower Covid incidence than Laois, including neighbouring Carlow (149.3), Kilkenny (146.1) and Tipperary (109.1).
There were 147 new Covid cases in Laois in the 14 days up to midnight last night.
Nationally, three deaths and 1,283 confirmed cases were announced this evening. There are 408 in Dublin, 156 in Cork, 88 in Kildare, 80 in Meath and 55 in Limerick.
The remaining 496 cases are spread across the other 21 counties, with 23 of them in Laois.
Nearly seven in ten (68%) are under 45 years of age and the median age is 31.
As of 2pm today, 277 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 33 are in ICU. There have been 17 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Portlaoise hospital has five confirmed Covid-19 patients, with two of them critically ill in ICU as of 8pm last night.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,852 Covid-related deaths and 49,962 confirmed cases nationwide.
HPSC figures show that just over 94% of people who died with Covid-19 had an underlying condition. The vast majority of people have recovered from the virus.