Most recently updated figures published by the Health Surveillance Protection Centre (HSPC ) and HSE (from 12/01-25/01 ) reveal that the Moate local electoral had the second lowest rate of confirmed Covid-19 per population in the country during the time period referenced.
The Moate local electoral area which was altered prior to the most recently held local elections in 2019 and now covers a swathe of the county to include Mount Temple, Drumraney and Tang and verging towards Mullingar, showed a significant improvement pertaining to confirmed Covid-19 cases with a decrease in number to 46 (the previous data released noted 100 confirmed cases in this particular local electoral area during the time period 05/01-18/01 ). The 14 day incidence rate for the Moate local electoral area was 249.4 per 100,000 population.
There were 68 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Athlone electoral area (Westmeath ) during this particular timeframe resulting in a 14 day incidence rate of 299.7 per 100,000 population (there is a total population of 22,692 within the Athlone local electoral area as per the most recent census ).
Meanwhile, the Athlone local electoral area of Roscommon noted 57 new confirmed Covid-19 cases during this timeframe (a decline from the previous figure of 113 detailed during the previous 14 day period ). This case number figure represents a rate of 285.3 per 100,000 population and places the local electoral area in a low Covid-19 rate category for the country.
As of midnight on Monday, February 1, Westmeath is placed 21st on the 14 day incidence rate per 100,000 population following the latest figures announcement.
With a 14 day incidence rate of 286.1, the case numbers are below the national average incidence rate of 455.0 cases per 100,000 population.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, which provides acute and specialist services at Portiuncula University Hospital in Ballinasloe, this week noted that the level of Covid-19 infection in the community needs to decline much further than at present stating the continued importance of abiding by all Level 5 restrictions to achieve this goal.
“While the number of cases in the community and in the hospitals are decreasing, his greatest fear is that the public will relax their behaviour too soon and the level of infection will not be sufficiently suppressed.
“I understand that people are tired, they have tolerated a lot, and the duration of the pandemic has been a long 12 months. However, it was essential that the significant improvements made recently in the reduction in the incidence of the disease, would not slow down or stop at a level of infection that was far too high.
“There has been continued improvement since last week in terms of the number of people being hospitalised and those requiring treatment in intensive care units.
“This confirms we have reached the peak of the third wave [of the infection] and we are coming down the far side. Since Christmas, there has been unrelenting pressure [on the hospital system], it is relenting a little bit now. We are still at very high levels but it is an improvement on the way things were,” Mr Canavan remarked.
At the time of going to press, there were eight patients being treated for Covid-19 in Portiuncula University Hospital (PUH ).
“Patient numbers in local intensive care units continue to fall. There are three people with Covid-19 at PUH’s seven bed ICU with one bed presently free.
“Patients continue to be transferred from one hospital to another within the Saolta group if their local intensive care units become overstretched,” Mr Canavan continued.
One of the biggest sources of pressure on the seven Saolta Group of hospitals is the high number of healthcare staff on sick leave due to contracting Covid-19 or being a close contact of a case. Saolta employs 10,000 staff across its five sites and almost 1,000 of them (990 ) were absent on Covid-related leave on January 14.
“This was the highest ever peak, according to Mr Canavan.