“COVID-19 infection is everywhere, now is the time to protect yourself and protect one another. If you are unvaccinated, your risk of serious infection is high, so please avail of the vaccination now."
That is the stark message from the Director of Public Health North East, Dr Augustine Pereira, last night as the Department of Public Health North East, Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare and Louth County Council issued a joint statement expressing their concern about the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Louth.
Dr Pereira, said: "The latest figures, covering the 14 day incidence from the 2nd November to 15th November, reported the electoral areas in Drogheda Urban with an incident rate of 2415.4 cases per 100,000 of population and Drogheda Rural with an incident rate of 1963.5 cases per 100,000 of population.
This is the equivalent of saying if 40 people were tested in Drogheda in the past 14 days, we picked up 1 case. If we consider a longer timeframe, we are nearing levels of 1 out of every 20 people testing positive in the past month.
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“It is important that as a community we work together to help bring the rate of transmission down. With such levels of transmission, we all have to take personal responsibility.
“We must layer up our defences so that the virus has less opportunity to infect us and the people around us. We layer up with vaccines, maintain social distancing, mask wearing, regular hand washing/sanitising, managing our contacts, isolating when symptomatic, avoid crowds, meet outdoors and maintain good ventilation.”
“People in all age groups are at risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19. We are hopeful we will break the chains of transmission in the community with the help of the public adhering to the public health guidelines.”
“We are asking you all to make the necessary changes to help drive down the rate of transmission of the virus” he added.
Des O’Flynn, Chief Officer at Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation said: "Small changes, by all of us, will make a big difference collectively. Together, we can break the chains of transmission and bring down disease incidence. We must continue to stick to the basic public guidelines as practising hand hygiene, mask wearing, social distancing, as well taking a test if you display symptoms and of course, getting a vaccine if you haven’t had one yet. Working together, we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities from this virus.”
Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council said “Louth people have a great community spirit and are fantastic at looking out for each other. We need to protect each other and get the numbers down. We have done it before and we can do it again.”
Link to the HSE online self-referral COVID-19 test portal - https://covid19test.healthservice.ie/hse-self-referral/