With tens of thousands of holidaymakers and racing fans flocking to the west from this weekend, he HSE has asked people to exercise caution with local Covid-19 figures having trebled in the last week.
Although attendances at Galway Races are limited to 1,000 people a day, tens of thousands of tourists are expected in the city over the next few days, as they seek to sample the different race week and Film Fleadh atmosphere.
Traditionally, Galway’s busiest week of the year comes at a time when the HSE has asked for people to take extra care following the spiralling rise in the number of Covid 19 cases. Galway was ranked the county with the fifth highest 14-day incidence rate (257 cases per 100,000 population ) in the State over the past seven days. Donegal was the highest (725 cases per 100,000 population ), Louth (474 cases per 100,000 population ), Dublin (307 cases per 100,000 population ) and Limerick (258 cases per 100,000 population ).
Local health experts are urging the public to protect themselves as Covid-19 case numbers soar in the west - the numbers have doubled in Co Mayo also - by following the public health advice.
Virus circulating 'at pace'
Dr Breda Smyth, the HSE West’s director of public health, said over the past five days there has been a “dramatic increase” in Covid-19 case numbers across the region.
She outlined that the positivity rate in the walk-in Covid-19 testing centre in the city is currently 8.7 per cent: “Our age-specific 14 day incidence in our young adults ranges from 500 to 832 cases per 100,000. This population is largely unvaccinated.”She warned that the virus is circulating “at pace” among the region’s population.
'Wear a mask'
“To protect ourselves and our loved ones," she continued, "it is important we continue to practice public health behaviours — wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, and stay outside and stay apart.”
Tony Canavan, the CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group which runs the seven public hospitals in the west and north-west and is also responsible for the rollout of the vaccination programme in the region, warned we are now on the “upward curve” of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infection in Ireland.