MORE THAN one hundred people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the Glenties Local Electoral Area (LEA) in the past fourteen days which is the highest level of infection recorded in the area since the start of the pandemic.
This record-level surge in west Donegal can be largely attributed to an intensified period of social gatherings and widespread community transmission in the lead up to Christmas. This was followed by widespread household gatherings during the festive period.
The number of positive case for Glenties EA over the past two weeks (102) is still well short of the numbers in Letterkenny (500), Milford (246), Lifford-Stranorlar (225) and Donegal (179) over the same period.
However, Gaoth Dobhair based Dr Anthony Delap said that while the current case numbers released for Donegal day by day by NPHET are high, they could fall below the real number as the system struggles to cope with the surge in positive cases since Christmas Day in his own practice.
Dr Delap says ‘the vast majority’ of tests he sends off are returning positive.
“It used to quite rare to get a positive test back now most of them afre coming back positive. It seems to have spread since Christmas and the New Year, particularly among the younger 20 to 50 age group – people who did not heed public advice with regard to congregating over the holiday period.
“Our levels are still quite low (within Donegal) but we’re coming from a very low case. We were used to getting negative tests back when we came into the practice each morning but now we’re faced with a growing number of positive tests. I think the lowest number of positive cases we’ve had on any given day since the New Year was twelve, ranging from that up to about twenty.
“That said, I do think people have since taken the advice on board and while we won’t see it for another two weeks or so I would be hopeful that the numbers will then start to fall once more. As long as we keep it from the more vulnerable members of our society in the meantime but if it seeps into the elderly and those more at risk it’s then that you will see real damage done,” Dr Delap said.
“There’s been a huge sea change in west Donegal. They’ve been dealing with big numbers along the border for quite some time now but we weren’t seeing it here. It’s probably a mixture of people congregating around the holiday period and the new, more infectious variant.
“When it gets into a house this new variant seems to be particularly easy to transmit. We’re getting whole families and extended families who are positive now whereas before Christmas it was confined to one or two people in the house.
“Everything is closed now under the new lockdown and hopefully we’ll see the numbers start to come down once more,” he said.
“The advice remains the same and goes back to the basics. Wash your hands, wear a face covering, keep your social distance and don’t go out until you have to go our,” Dr Delap added.