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covid concern Delta strain taking biggest toll on younger people who have yet to be vaccinated 

Many of this high-risk catergory are working in service jobs including the hospitality trade

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Many young people have yet to be offered the vaccine

Many young people have yet to be offered the vaccine

Many young people have yet to be offered the vaccine

YOUNG unvaccinated people who have yet to be offered a Covid-19 jab are being hardest hit by the Delta variant here so far, it emerged yesterday.

People of all ages here have now been infected with the highly contagious mutant version of coronavirus, including the over-65s.

They include 33 young people and children under 18, and four over-65s who are the most vulnerable to the Covid-19 illness.

But it is taking its biggest toll on the age groups who have not yet been offered a vaccine.

The largest number of cases of the variant, which has a higher hospitalisation rate than others, is being seen in the 19-34 year age group.

Many of this generation are working in service jobs including the hospitality trade.

They caught 103 cases of the variant - nearly half the first 209 reported incidents of the virus detected here, according to the report from the disease watchdog the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

So far around 210 cases of the variant have been detected here, but because of the time-lag involved in analysing samples the real figure is expected to be higher.

However, moves are now under way to get a quicker turnaround in screening results.

It comes as the national figure for coronavirus figures remained stable yesterday with 380 cases.

The Department of Health is now posting daily updates on the numbers of people who are in hospital or seriously ill in hospital on Twitter, despite concerns this may be inappropriate in light of patient and family sensitivities.

It tweeted there are 38 patients in hospital and 13 seriously ill in intensive care with Covid-19.

Meanwhile, daily Covid-19 cases in Limerick more than doubled in 24 hours, according to provisional data released yesterday by public health doctors in the mid-west.

A total of 101 cases have been identified in Limerick in the past five days, which has public health experts "concerned".

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It comes as the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy said "many" parishes in the diocese said they were pressing ahead with plans for Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies, despite the HSE recommending the ceremonies be deferred in the region to September.

Despite a noticeable drop in Limerick cases over the past two weeks, public health doctors in the city are now said to be concerned after daily case numbers more than doubled from 17 on Wednesday to 36 on Thursday.

Doctors at the Department's Limerick headquarters want to see lower daily case numbers over a sustained period.

"Fluctuations in daily cases are not good. Once you start to see a jump in cases such as 17 to 36 in one day, it is a sign for us all to keep our guard up," said the source.

Data published last week showed fewer than 10 cases of the more highly transmissible Delta variant were identified in the mid-west, however the source said the results of sequencing of cases for the Delta strain are not known for between two and three weeks.

It is likely that "by the end of next week, it will be clearer" as to whether or not there has been any significant increase in Delta variant cases in the region.

Currently the counties with the highest rate of positivity at HSE testing centres are in Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Offaly.

The national positivity rate is 4.5pc but centres in those counties are seeing figures of 7pc to 10pc.

The World Health Organisation said yesterday that the Delta variant has been identified in 85 countries and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.

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