THE REPORTING OF more than 600 daily cases of Covid-19 for the first time since late April was a “cause of concern”, the chief medical officer warned today, the same day we were notified by a close contact that she had COVID. A few hours later, a text message offered us a tracking number to be used when we presented to take our COVID tests a few miles away.
My phone brought more details from Paul Cullen with the Irish Times. In Cullen’s report and on RTE News, Dr Tony Holohan, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, says 631 cases on the 9th of July shows “this disease is prevalent in our communities again” and he urged unvaccinated people to “hold firm”.
“We know there is worry and frustration out there, particularly for young people, who have had significant parts of their lives put on hold by this disease. We ask if you are not yet vaccinated, to hold firm to the public health advice as you await your vaccine. Please continue to manage your contacts, meet outdoors and avoid crowds.” Getting advised that we are close contacts scuppered our opportunity to enjoy the tail end of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival.
We started reading about the current state of play for COVID infections in Ireland. The figures released by the Department of Health also showed there were 50 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, of which 15 are in ICU. The numbers run like a ticker tape across the nightly news screens in Ireland.
Delta variant in Ireland
The total number of Delta variant cases of Covid-19 reported in the Republic has more than doubled, according to latest data. Some 472 cases of the variant here have now been sequenced, according to the latest update from the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). This compares with a total of 220 such cases reported last week.
More than 83 per cent of the cases were in people aged 44 and under. Just 2.5 per cent were in potentially more vulnerable people aged 65 and over.
Over the past fortnight, 6,034 Covid-19 cases occurred in the Republic, according to a separate update from the HPSC. According to the latest figures, Co Donegal had the highest 14-day Covid-19 incidence at 389.5 new cases per 100,000 people, compared with a national incidence of 126.7. Waterford and Sligo had incidences of about 200 per 100,000 population, while Carlow had the lowest incidence, at 28.1.
Some 417 of the cases in the past fortnight in Ireland were travel-related and 19 were acquired in a healthcare setting. We think our close contact got her infection while training in a local fitness centre.
I hope the majority of students who will return to our university campus in September will be vaccinated because I can see this sort of isolated incident recurring through the autumn until herd immunity is established with young people.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus. Image from Narong Sangnak/EPA.]