Ireland emerging from current Covid wave with fall in cases but hotspots remain
Waterford, Carlow, Kerry, Galway, Westmeath and Limerick had the highest incidence of Covid-19 last week, new figures have revealed.
In Waterford the incidence rate per 100,000 stood at 378.7, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
This compared to Monaghan, which had the lowest incidence of 128.7 per 100,000.
Monaghan was followed by Louth, Roscommon, Mayo, Cavan, Meath, Clare, Donegal, Offaly and Sligo.
It comes as the country continues on a positive path and is emerging from the current Covid-19 wave. The number of patients in hospital with the virus fell below 600 yesterday to 599, a drop of 55 compared to Thursday.
Of these, 39 are in intensive care – down from 53 a week ago.
Although daily cases are falling, they remain high with another 2,778 reported yesterday, including 1,171 positive PCR tests.
Last week the highest percentage of cases at 20.7pc was among the 35-44 age group.
More women than men had a positive PCR test.
The highest incidence by age was in the 85 and over age group.
Among the confirmed cases notified last week three were known to have been admitted to intensive care.
The mean age of those who are using antigen tests at home and testing positive is 38 years.
Meanwhile, there is ongoing monitoring of offshoots of the Omicron variant.
The BA.2.12.1 sub-variant is believed to be behind a rise in cases in the United States.
It is not yet listed among variants detected here but it is more transmissible than the BA.2 version which is dominant in Ireland.
Cases of another variant – the XE variant – which is a hybrid of BA.1 and BA.2, have been found here, one of which is travel-related. However, although this is also easier to catch than BA.2, it is not regarded for now as a serious threat.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the local electoral area with the highest Covid-19 booster vaccination rate is Bantry, Co Cork.
The lowest is found in the Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart district in Dublin.
Areas with a high booster jab uptake also include Blackrock, Co Dublin; Belmullet, Co Mayo; Rathfarnham-Templeogue and Stillorgan in Dublin.
Other local electoral areas with a lower booster uptake are Tallaght south, north inner city Dublin, Ongar and Ballymun-Finglas.
In 90pc of these areas the vaccination uptake rate of 5 to 11-year-olds is less than 23.4pc of the population, the CSO revealed.
Meanwhile, new research presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal shows that people infected with the Omicron variant are 36pc less likely to be hospitalised than those with the Delta variant.
There is reduced risk observed among both unvaccinated and vaccinated.
The study is by Dr Peter Bager and colleagues at the Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.
In this observational cohort study, the authors included all PCR-confirmed cases of Covid infection in Denmark, with samples taken between November 21 – the date of the first Omicron-positive sample – and December 19, 2021.
Among the 188,980 individuals with infection 38,669 or 20.5pc had the Omicron variant.
Overall, 124,313 – or 66pc of 188,980 – individuals were vaccinated, and vaccination was associated with a 76pc lower risk of hospitalisation compared with cases with no doses or only one dose of vaccine.
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