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CASE SURGE New Covid-19 test centre to open in Limerick after recent spike in numbers

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HSE paramedic Andrew Connaughton conducts a Covid swab on Charlotte Lynch, at the HSE walk-in Covid test centre at Castletown House in Celbridge (Picture: Frank McGrath)

HSE paramedic Andrew Connaughton conducts a Covid swab on Charlotte Lynch, at the HSE walk-in Covid test centre at Castletown House in Celbridge (Picture: Frank McGrath)

HSE paramedic Andrew Connaughton conducts a Covid swab on Charlotte Lynch, at the HSE walk-in Covid test centre at Castletown House in Celbridge (Picture: Frank McGrath)

A new Covid-19 test centre is to open in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, today in response to the high number of cases the county has experienced in recent weeks.

The centre will be located at Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale, a sporting complex where many of the county’s intercounty GAA teams train.

The centre will operate as a walk-in and drive-through testing centre and it will be open from 11am to 7pm.

This centre is now the third location which people can attend to be tested in Limerick, with two testing centres located in Limerick city at St Joseph’s hospital complex and a drive-through centre on the Ballysimon road.

This newest centre comes as a response to the high number of cases the county has experienced in recent weeks, which saw Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan meet with local TDs to discuss the problem last Friday.

Figures for the bank holiday weekend in Limerick have not yet been released but the county recorded 75 new cases last Thursday, taking its tally to over 800 for the previous two weeks.

It’s last reported 14-day incidence was 426 cases per 100,000 people, by far the highest in the nation.

There had been fears that Limerick may be subjected to a local lockdown to arrest the spiralling number of cases but public health officials opted against this measure.

Instead, they specifically asked people from Limerick not to socialise indoors or in big groups over the bank holiday weekend and for the coming weeks to prevent the spread of the disease.

Director of Public Health Mid-West, Dr Mai Mannix, confirmed that new variants of concern such as the Delta, or Indian, variant were not to blame for the sudden surge in Limerick’s case count.

Dr Mannix said all confirmed cases in Limerick were subject to whole genome sequencing as a result of the spike, but said variants were not to blame.

She said a combination of indoor gatherings, workplace outbreaks and other social gatherings were responsible for the surge in the county.

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