Welcome drop in Offaly Covid-19 cases today
There has been a welcome drop in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Offaly today.
Seven cases were confirmed by NPHET on Wednesday evening, significantly less than the 22 confirmed on Tuesday. Offaly has now had 324 cases in the last 14 days with our 14-day incidence rate dropping on Wednesday to 415.6 from 441.2 on Tuesday.
The county's incidence rate is still the highest in the country.
574 new cases were confirmed nationally on Wednesday along with 56 additional deaths.
Earlier, the HSE responded to a Tullamore Tribune query over the startling rise in Covid-19 cases in Offaly over the last two weeks.
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.