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covid warning Public health warning issued as parties planned around Cork v Limerick All-Ireland hurling final

Hospitals issued a joint statement asking fans to act responsibly

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Cork's Eoin Cadogan and Limerick's Aaron Gillane during the 2019 Munster SHC Round 2 at the LIT Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Cork's Eoin Cadogan and Limerick's Aaron Gillane during the 2019 Munster SHC Round 2 at the LIT Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Cork's Eoin Cadogan and Limerick's Aaron Gillane during the 2019 Munster SHC Round 2 at the LIT Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

A public health warning has been issued for Limerick and the wider mid west in the wake of an expected increase in social gatherings planned around this weekend’s All-Ireland Hurling Final.

As Limerick clash with Cork at a Covid-friendly Croke Park tomorrow, fans not travelling to the game will be living up the atmosphere in pubs, beer gardens, and households.

Pubs in the Treaty City are booked up with fans hoping to kickstart a weekend of celebrations on Shannonside.

Three people infected with COVID-19 were today fighting for their lives at the intensive care unit at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

The Limerick hospital, which is the most overcrowded in the country with 36 patients on trolleys and awaiting admission to a bed, was today treating 20 Covid patients and 22 suspected cases.

In a joint statement released this afternoon, the HSE, UL Hospitals Group, and Public Health Mid West, urged supporters in the region to act responsibly to prevent a serious outbreak of COVID-19.

Professor Brian Lenehen, Chief Clinical Director, UL Hospitals Group, warned: “We have been witnessing an increase in the number of COVID-positive patients in hospital in recent weeks. Of the 20 Covid-positive inpatients in UHL currently, three are in critical care.”

“We are making great progress on vaccination but we need continued adherence to public health guidelines to reduce community transmission. It is vital that Covid-19 hospitalisations remain low so that we can continue to focus on ramping up scheduled care, so much of which has been significantly disrupted due to the pandemic.“

“As such, I would like to remind the public to support the Limerick hurlers in a safe and responsible manner this weekend in order to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus.”

The health authorities called on people to be “vigilant” and to “sign up for COVID-19 vaccination, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the region”.

Over the past 14 days, 1,228 cases have been recorded across the Mid-West; 772 in Limerick, 167 in Clare, and 289 in North Tipperary, according to figures released by Public Health Mid West.

Yesterday, August 19, 73 new cases were recorded in Limerick, 33 in North Tipperary, and 6 in Clare.

“Thankfully we have not seen the death rates experienced in previous waves but this high level of community transmission puts pressure on our health service, and vulnerable settings such as long term residential care facilities are at an increased risk of outbreaks,” said a spokesman for Public Health Mid West.

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Dr Breda Cosgrove, a specialist in public health medicine, said: “Unfortunately, we have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 case numbers in Limerick in the past week. While the All Ireland hurling final is an important sporting event, we urge that, if you are socialising this weekend, that you do so safely and that you adhere to Public Health guidance.”

“Vaccination offers protection against COVID-19 so if you are eligible for a vaccine and have not yet registered, please do so as soon as possible,” added Dr Cosgrove.

Maria Bridgeman, Chief Officer, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare reiterated a “fantastic response” to the Covid vaccine programme but that it was still “circulating at high levels in our community”.

“We all need to follow public health guidelines, and this includes presenting for COVID-19 tests when needed. I know the people of Limerick will give tremendous support to their hurlers, but I would urge everyone to also support their community by backing the team in a responsible manner.”

A test centre at the Old Wickes Building, Ballysimon Road, Limerick, will remain open throughout the weekend.

Tests can be booked for the centre via the HSE website (www.hse.ie) for all members of the public, including those who wish to book an appointment in advance of the All-Ireland Final.

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