By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, on Friday met with public representatives, public health doctors, local politicians and community leaders from the Limerick area, to discuss the recent steep rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Image/Robert Herriman

He said:

“Yesterday, the Public Health Department in the Mid-West reported 103 cases of COVID-19 in Limerick. There have been more than 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Limerick over the past fortnight. The incidence of 426 cases per 100,000 of population is simply too high and poses a serious risk to public health.

“Public health doctors have told us that this spike is a result of indoor socialising and workplace outbreaks. Unfortunately, this sharp rise puts our hard-won progress against COVID-19 at risk. It is simply too soon to stop adhering to the public health measures that have protected us so well for so long.

“In the past we have seen Limerick’s ability to respond quickly to COVID-19 and effectively get the virus under control. We need people to harness the community spirit we have seen Limerick people display time and time again, to continue to protect our loved ones.

“This is a stark reminder for the rest of us across the country of the risk COVID-19 continues to pose. We cannot let our guard down now. All of our collective hard work and sacrifice has contributed to the success of our vaccination programme and the progress we have made so far with reopening our economy and society.

“Our priority in Limerick – and indeed around the country – is to suppress the virus until such a time that we have the vast majority of our population vaccinated. We have one of the highest uptakes of vaccination in Europe, and our ability to respond to surges in the past has been second to none. Let’s focus on this, and the public health measures that work.

“Please avoid crowds, wear a mask where appropriate, wash your hands, maintain your social distance, socialise outdoors and, most importantly, if you display any symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect you are a close contact of a confirmed case then attend a test centre for a free test. These are the measures that work and are all the more vital for those in Limerick in the coming days. I have faith that we can do this now, as we have done in the past.”