THERE has been 1,400 confirmed Covid-19 cases reported in Donegal within two days a leading public health specialist has warned.
On Tuesday almost 900 cases of the virus were reported followed by 500 on Thursday.
Dr Anthony Breslin , Specialist in Public Health Medicine for the North West, warned that people are not adhering to the guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing.
He was speaking after the Cabinet approved changes to the isolation periods which will take effect from midnight today.
The decision brings to an end the five day isolation period for fully vaccinated close contacts who do not have any symptoms.
Dr Breslin warned that people who have symptoms still need to stay at home and either do an antigen or PCR test.
“If people test positive they should stay put and if negative they should stay put until they are 48 hours symptom free. But when you are out and about you need to watch your distancing, wear a face mask. Unfortunately we are seeing a large number of people not adhering to that advice,” he said.
“The advice is there for a purpose. It is a simple action but it has a phenomenal affect in stopping the spread.”
The huge number of cases being reported daily has made it extremely challenging for the HSE to process and Dr Breslin said the latest figures come with an asterisk or health warning.
“We have had problems trying to process them all. Because the numbers are so big it is taking us longer to do that,” he said.
Recent outbreaks in the county have been connected to weddings and workplaces while there has only been a small number of cases in nursing homes and community hospitals, mainly among staff.
On Monday Letterkenny University Hospital had the highest number of Covid-19 patients in the country – 71 and three patients were in Intensive Care.
On Tuesday the figure had fallen to 64 with ten of the cases reported in the previous 24 hours.
Asked if there is an end to the pandemic in sight, Dr Breslin said unfortunately we do not know what variant is around the corner.
“We know Omicron is very infectious but for the majority of people it doesn’t cause serious illness but it still can cause illness, enough to be admitted to hospital. It is not mild for everyone that is why we have to stop the spread.
“We don’t know what is around the corner and it could be more severe.”
The vaccine continues to be rolled out but Donegal’s uptake is still eight to ten per cent lower than the rest of the country. Dr Breslin said this is disappointing given the county has had some of the highest infection rates.
Last Friday all children aged 5 to 11 years began to be offered a primary dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Breslin said while uptake is good at the moment it is too early to tell and they will have to wait to see the figures.
“If you can, go and get it. It is a safe vaccine, it works.”
Posted: 9:48 am January 16, 2022