HSE issues statement after spike in Offaly Covid-19 cases
The HSE has responded to a Tullamore Tribune query over the startling rise in Covid-19 cases in Offaly over the last two weeks.
A further 22 cases were confirmed in the county on Tuesday evening, bringing the total over the last two-week period to 344 cases. This gives Offaly the highest 14-day incidence rate in the country, standing at 441.2 per 100,000 population, almost double the national average of 240.4.
Responding to the figures and Offaly's precarious position with the virus, Dr. Una Fallon, Director of Public Health HSE, Midlands, said: "While Offaly currently has the highest rate of COVID in comparison to other counties, there is no reason to be alarmed.
"Offaly is not a densely populated county so a small rise in the actual number of COVID cases, looks like a significant rise in COVID rates.
"Cases are occurring in a wide range of settings such as workplaces, residential care facilities etc, all of which we are familiar with. No one setting explains the current numbers.
"I would to thank the public for their efforts to date and appeal to them to continue to adhere to level 5 restrictions, to wear a face mask, to stringently observe social distancing and practice good hand hygiene."
This comes after the Offaly Express confirmed on Tuesday that the Nelipak Healthcare Packaging facility in Clara has been the source of a significant outbreak in recent weeks, at least 20 cases among the staff population, and a further number of cases among their close contacts.
The company insisted it has worked with the HSE to test staff and stem the spread but workers expressed concerns over the handling of the outbreak and of Covid-19 measures generally at the plant.
A number of people connected to the outbreak have been hospitalised with Covid-19, the Offaly Express has learned. The cases in the factory have contributed to Offaly's overall virus figures, which continue to be the highest in the country.
The next highest to Offaly is Monaghan with a rate of 342.1, compared to Offaly's 441.2 per 100,000.