Limerick, Clare and Louth top the Covid table as new variants now account for 70% of cases

Limerick, Clare, Louth, Galway, Laois and Kilkenny climbed to the top of the table for the highest Covid-19 incidence rate. They are followed by Donegal, Kildare, Wicklow, Tipperary, Dublin, Carlow and Meath.

The latest county-by-county rankings come as it has been confirmed that the worrying new variants BA.4 and BA.5, as well as BA2.12.1, now account for seven out of 10 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

These offshoots of Omicron are easier to catch, and people who caught the virus during the big surge earlier this year are among those who get infected again.

The counties with the lowest incidence – based on PCR testing – are Monaghan, Leitrim, Cavan, Westmeath, Sligo and Mayo, according to the latest report from the Center for Health Protection Monitoring.

In terms of age groups, the highest percentage of Covid-positive cases after a PCR test is for 35-44 year olds, followed by 45-54 year olds and 25-34 year olds.

HSE Clinical Director Dr Colm Henry said there had been a sharp rise in Covid cases and hospitalizations of people with the virus in recent weeks.

The seven-day positivity rate for people taking PCR tests rose to 29 per cent, while the number of positive registrations with the HSE after a home antigen test rose to 1,960 on Wednesday.

The number of hospitalizations with Covid rose to 496 yesterday, more than half of them due to complications from the virus and the rest with another illness but positive for the virus.

Of these, the number of seriously ill people in intensive care has remained stable at 25, although more are on ventilators.

The number of Covid-19 outbreaks in hospital last week rose to 15, three times the number recorded the previous week.

One of the hospital outbreaks resulted in the infection of 17 people.

There were 12 new outbreaks in nursing homes, ranging from two to 13 cases – down from one outbreak the week before.

The HSE said yesterday it was reducing the number of Covid-19 vaccination centers as it prepares for the roll out of a winter booster vaccine. From the end of this month, the number of vaccination centers will be reduced to 15, although many pharmacists will continue to offer the vaccines.

There are concerns about taking second boosters for the over-65s and immunocompromised people, despite the latest summer wave of Covid-19 driving up hospitalizations.

Recent figures from the HSE show that around 397,000 of the 780,000 eligible people in these risk groups had not yet received a second booster.

More than 1.2 million have so far not accepted the offer of a first booster shot.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has yet to state its recommendations for a winter booster shot, but the vaccine will likely be offered to groups such as healthcare workers in the wider population.

However, it is expected that there will be a four month interval between booster shots.

This means that the longer people leave it to get their second booster, the longer they will have to wait until winter to get the next shot.

Damien McCallion, HSE’s national lead for testing, traceability and vaccinations, said: “The HSE will soon be moving into the next stage of its Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“While some vaccination centers across the country have closed or will close soon, we are maintaining 15 vaccination centers nationwide to ensure access to vaccination during the summer for anyone who needs it.

“The continued involvement of many pharmacies in the Covid-19 vaccination program will ensure that people will still be able to easily access it, and the public will be able to consult hse.ie to find a participating pharmacy nearest to them.

“For the remainder of June, we encourage anyone who has not yet received their Covid-19 vaccine to book an appointment online at hse.ie or call HSE Live to book an appointment at a HSE vaccination. Participating GPs and pharmacists will also continue to provide vaccination. »

“While we will soon be moving to the next stage of our vaccination program, there are still many options for people to get vaccinated, and I urge anyone who has not yet received their vaccine or booster to take appointment.”

About Florence L. Silvia

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