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‘Think before you act’ says West Clare GP as county’s incidence rate of COVID-19 among highest in Ireland

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Co Clare has among the highest incidence rate of COVID-19 in the country while a West Clare GP has urged the public to think of the consequences their actions may have over the coming weeks.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has confirmed that Co Clare has the third highest incidence of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland. Higher rates have been recorded in Donegal and Monaghan.

Within the past fortnight, a total of 217 new cases of the virus have been alerted to health officials from the county.

Per 100,000 of the population, the positivity rate in the Kilrush local electoral area is 290.6 which is the seventh worst in the country and the highest in the province with Ennis’ electoral area at 226.5 giving it the tenth highest infection rate in the Republic. Positivity rates for Clare’s other electoral areas have also been outlined with Shannon at 98.7, Ennistymon at 30.5 and Killaloe at 29.8.

Numerous schools across the county are dealing with confirmed cases of Coronavirus involving both staff and students. The Clare Echo understands that there are multiple positive samples connected to Clarecastle NS with further cases at schools including Barefield NS, Ennistymon CBS, Kilrush Community Colllege, Ennis Community College and Scariff Community College.

Consequences must be considered by all members of the public when it comes to their decision making over the coming weeks, Dr Billy O’Connell stated. “Before we go out we have to think of what happens next. It is not emphasised enough, we blame young people when it happens but we don’t give them the best information to avoid getting into those situations, through lack of guidance from some of us and poor decision making with a few drinks it is hard to avoid”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Dr O’Connell urged individuals particularly young people to realise that their actions can have severe impacts on the lives of others including their loved ones. “The younger people have to realise that it isn’t just themselves, a lot of them if they get it they will be able to shake it off but it is so insidious that they could be a carrier of it and bring it home and mix it with elderly people”.

A GP in Miltown Malbay, the Kerry native believed that the challenge of suppressing COVID-19 is bigger now than it was in March and April. “One can imagine how easy it is to spread through coughing, we’re going to be indoors a lot more which will be a cause for it to spread. The idea of level three is to limit this happening. If we kept going as we were, it would spread horrendously. Our biggest worry would be the hospitals and the ICU beds, thankfully we haven’t had many casualties but the amount of ICU beds we have is minimal for the population we have, the biggest issue then is the people that need treatment for other medical conditions can’t be due to a lack of bed space”.

Senator Martin Conway (FG) welcomed confirmation that the new 60 bed modular unit at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) would open on November 9th. He said the opening “will dramatically reduce pressure on the hospitals A&E unit”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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