CONCERN has been voiced that the Covid-19 test positivity rate in Kerry has been the highest in the country over the past week.
Senior public health officials have revealed that the positivity return for the county is at 15 per cent which is 50 per cent higher than the national average of 10 per cent.
The positivity rates for both Kerry and Waterford have now risen above long-standing virus blackspots of Donegal and Momaghan which now have a rate of 13 per cent, still above the national average.
The HSE National Lead for Test and Trace, Niamh O’Byrne, confirmed that positive cases have been increasing with the age bracket of those contracting the virus also rising.
She said more people in the 30-60 category than teenagers are now testing positive and there have also been outbreaks reported in residential care settings with residents and staff testing positive, in quite large numbers in some cases.
Health officials believe the most problematic contact points are social settings and in the home with birthday and other family celebrations causing problems.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 2,066 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and an alarming 26 deaths have been notified since last Wednesday.
As of 8am today, 408 patients were being treated for coronavirus in hospital with 69 in intensive care.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, Dr Ronan Glynn, said while there has been a fantastic uptake of vaccinations, there are still just under 300,000 adults who have not come forward for the jab and a further 70,000 people have received just one dose of a two-dose schedule.
“The spread of disease in these 370,000 people is having a disproportionate impact on the profile of Covid-19 in our hospitals and intensive care units, with two out of every three people in intensive care not vaccinated,” he said.
Dr Glynn added: “Choosing to get vaccinated is an act of protection for yourself – it may save your life – but it is also an act of solidarity with others. The more of us that get vaccinated, the safer we all are.”
The majority of the remaining restrictions are due to be lifted on October 22 but, in advance of anything being finalised in that regard, NPHET will meet next week to discuss the rise in cases and related issues.