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Knock-on effects Monaghan-based GP says rise in positive coronavirus cases there is 'concerning'

'We're definitely seeing a rise, we must have gone almost two months with no positive cases in our practice'

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A rise in cases in Monaghan has been described as "concerning".

A rise in cases in Monaghan has been described as "concerning".

A rise in cases in Monaghan has been described as "concerning".

A Monaghan-based GP has described a rise in positive coronavirus cases there as “concerning”. 

Dr Illona Duffy was speaking as local test centres have reported that their rates in the last fortnight have rapidly increased with people attending for testing.

"We're definitely seeing a rise, we must have gone almost two months with no positive cases in our practice,” Dr Duffy told Newstalk Breakfast.

"And already this week we've had three - we're definitely seeing a rise in the number of people who are ringing us and requiring testing, they've got Covid-type symptoms.

"And we're also aware that many patients are self-referring; they're going online and registering or they're walking into the test centres.

"The test centres are reporting to us, the local one here in Co Monaghan, they're saying that their rates in the last fortnight have rapidly increased with people attending for testing.

"So clearly people themselves are concerned and worried that they may have Covid”

Dr Duffy added: “We're also hearing more stories and having contact from more patients who have been advised that they are close contacts of positive cases.

"This is kind of disappointing because we had seen again such a drop and it seemed to be continued and sustained."

Dr Duffy says any knock-on effects from a surge in cases are concerning.

"Every time we see a wave we know that it impacts on the health service - not only on general practice... but more importantly we know every time there's a wave, we see other services close down.

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"That is impacting on their healthcare, and it's something that's probably making us in general practice even more busy because we're the last port of call.

"So, people turn to us because they can't get the tests or the delay in getting what's meant to be followed up in the hospital setting.

"And that's going to be the concern again: that we'll see hospital services having to close temporarily again, impacting on people not only because of COVID but because of the non-COVID medical problems they have".

Dr Duffy was speaking amid concerns that the spread of the Delta variant will likely “outpace” vaccine supplies in coming weeks.

That's according to recent HSE modelling that predicts cases numbers will rise in July and could reach a peak in August.

On Monday, the country's 14-day incidence rate was just under 122 cases per 100,000 people.

But three areas around the country have rates that are over five-times the national average.

Buncrana in Co Donegal has a rate of 881 cases per 100,000 people - over seven times the national average - with one in every 114 people testing positive.

Dungarvan in Co Waterford is the second highest in the country, with an incidence rate of 771.

The third highest is Carndonagh, also in Donegal, at 625.

That is followed by Limerick City North at 389, and Letterkenny - again in Donegal - at 369.

While infectious disease specialist Professor Sam McConkey has previously suggested accelerating vaccines will not stop the Delta variant from spreading.

He told Newstalk we can't outrun Delta, but can hopefully mitigate its impact.

"I'm hoping it will outrun a lot of the mortality and morbidity - the Delta variant is already here unfortunately, it's already spreading.

"So, it won't outrun and get rid of the cases, there'll still be a surge in cases.

"But I'm hoping they'll mostly be in younger people and won't have that conversion onto hospitalisation and death.”

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