Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.00 4 Jun 2021


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Indoor family gatherings are thought to be contributing to a spike in COVID-19 cases across Limerick.

It comes as a crisis meeting is taking place later between health officials and public representatives there over the recent increase in cases.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said he is concerned about the 'significant increase', with incidence of 411 per 100,000 people.

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He said it is extremely important everyone in the region continues to stick to the public health advice.

Some 465 new cases of the virus were confirmed in Ireland on Thursday, with 30 patients in Intensive Care.

Journalist with the Limerick Leader, David Hurley, told Breakfast Briefing several different factors are contributing to this.

"If you go by the public health official and doctors....it's a combination of things - the majority of the 800+ cases over the last two weeks have been, where possible, traced back to indoor gatherings.

"We haven't seen the scenes that we saw maybe five or six months ago, such as the students at the University of Limerick or the large funerals or the influx of people around Christmas time.

"But there appears to have been a number of indoor family gatherings, some birthday parties.

"There seems to have been a number of school outbreaks that have then spread to other schools; through maybe not misbehaviour, but people not fully complying with the public health guidance."

He said there has been a 'mood change' on the streets in recent days, away from the re-opening.

"The figures are now what people are talking about on the street, up to the weekend they were talking about the re-opening of the economy.

"And obviously last Friday we heard about a number of pilot events taking place - such as Limerick fans being allowed to attend a Munster hurling championship match in early July, there's a music event on at the University Concert Hall in Limerick in a couple of weeks time".

He said while health authorities have been doubling down on messaging, the HSE cyber attack may have hurt their ability to act.

"The HSE cyber attack has meant the weekly local electoral area data is not available, so we will be monitoring that very closely.

"The anecdotal evidence is that it is primarily a city area - but there does appear to be a portion of south-east county Limerick, which started at the border with Cork and Tipperary, where there have been a number of outbreaks.

"It was mentioned in the NPHET briefing during the week that there was one outbreak from a school, that as it spread into the community it crossed county boundaries".

Main image: Limerick city and the River Shannon, looking inland towards King John's Castle, is seen in 2016. Picture by: RollingNews.ie

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Breakfast Briefing COVID-19 Spike Coronavirus David Hurley Dr Tony Holohan Limerick

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