Government warns of 'concerning' Covid-19 trend in Offaly

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Government warns of 'concerning' Covid-19 trend in Offaly

Government official Elizabeth Canavan

Offaly is showing 'concerning trends' in the spread of Covid-19, according to public heath authorities and the government.

Kildare, Offaly and Laois were put under tighter restrictions in August to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Having emerged from those restrictions, all three counties have once again experienced significant increases in Covid-19 cases in September.

Offaly has had 694 cases since February with almost 10% of those coming since the beginning of September. Laois has had 433 cases since February;  Kildare has had nearly 2,452 case with a surge in September.

Figures from the Covid-19 Data hub show that Kildare is faring better than the other two counties in September than in August when it spent most of the month under lockdown.

Laois had 79 new cases in August while Offaly had 133. Kildare had 669 new cases in the month. So far in September, Laois has had 48 new cases, Offaly 68 and Kildare 178. 

While it has higher totals than Laois or Offaly, Kildare would have to record about 400 new cases in 10 days to reach its total for August.

The three counties had nearly 900 new cases in August. With 10 days left to go in September, the combined total is 294. Laois and Offaly may come closer to their totals for August when they also faced shorter restrictions than Kildare.

While the Taoiseach Micheál Martin insisted that the August restrictions worked when justifying Dublin would go to Level 3, the official Government update lists Offaly and Kildare as counties the radar for a stiffer response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was confirmed on Monday, September 21, in a briefing delivered by Elizabeth Canavan, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of the Taoiseach

"While Dublin made a lot of headlines over the last few days, it is important to point out that the situation nationally is also a cause for concern.

"As of Friday, the rate of incidence of the virus per 100,000 population was showing increasing trends in all but six counties.
While there has been significant focus on Dublin, the counties of Louth, Waterford, Limerick, Kildare, Leitrim, Donegal and Offaly are now all showing concerning trends," she said.

Louth, Donegal, Wicklow, Limerick and Waterford were all spotlighted.

"Outside of these counties, there are worrying trends in most areas. We are currently at Level 2 of the Framework nationally and we would like to either stay there or improve to Level 1, as opposed to going backwards," she said.

To keep all of the businesses we care about open, she urged people to work together to stop the spread of the virus by:

- Meeting fewer people inside your home
- Limiting the number of people you meet outside your home as much as possible
- Avoiding crowds

Prioritising the people you need to see, keeping groups small, and seeing them regularly, rather than meeting lots of different people from different households. Concentrate on your core circle in the coming weeks.

With those you do meet, be particularly attentive to safe practices - keep your distance, wear a face covering where appropriate, cough into a tissue and bin it, wash your hands.

She said it’s time to double our efforts to stay safe.

She urged people to remember this disease can spread even if you have no symptoms.

"Act as though you have the virus to protect the friends and family and colleagues and others you meet going about your day. Keeping that little bit of extra distance from others is really important as we try to work safely while living with the threat of this virus.

"Know the symptoms and come forward quickly for testing if you have any concerns. Isolate yourself from others and phone your GP if you feel unwell - remember that referral and test for COVID-19 are free," she said.