A meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NEPHET ) this afternoon (Thursday ) will decide whether Galway city and county will move to Level Three Covid-19 restrictions based on continued leaps in the 14-Day incidence rate.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that health officials will look at comparing the 14-day rate and the 7-day rate of incidence to see if the situation is improving in Galway, along with Cork, Monaghan and Roscommon.
The number of new cases in Galway for September is over ten times as high as the number of new cases for August. In the last week alone, Galway has had more new cases of Covid-19 than in total for the three months of June, July and August.
The meeting comes just two days after chaotic scenes of large gatherings of young people without any social distancing at Shop Street and the Spanish Arch.
Gardai in the city have also confirmed that they will not be handing over the addresses of house party locations to the third level institutions. Gardai said last week that they have been called out to almost 1,000 house parties in Galway in the last two months. Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said that a key source for a cluster of infections in Galway emanated from a house party scenario.
However, in the wake of public anger over this week’s incidents, the Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard, said now is the time for the city to “act and prevent rather than react and blame” by pursuing “practical ideas and solutions” to ensure there is no repeat of Monday’s events.
You can follow the outcome of today’s NEPHET meeting on Galway Advertiser social media.
While describing the massive student gatherings at the Spanish Arch, Claddagh basin, Woodquay, and Shop Street areas as “a slap in the face” to all those who are abiding by public health guidelines, he rejected calls for the Defence Forces to be called onto the city’s streets, or for water cannons to be used to disperse crowds, pointing out that such actions “will just drive the issue indoors” or into the suburbs of the city. “My main concern now, going forward, is how we prevent this from occurring again,” he said.