The Chief Medical Officer has said that there are concerns around the level of coronavirus in Donegal.

Dr Tony Holohan told a briefing at the Department of Health that there are outbreaks occurring in lots of different settings in the county.

“Clear examples of non-compliance across many parts of society, I might as well be honest about that. It is a concerning level of compliance compared to the rest of the country,” he said.

“The kind of things that even the dogs on the street in Donegal know shouldn’t be happening,” he added.

Latest figures from the National Public Health Emergency Team show that the national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 is 127.3. Donegal has the highest incidence rate in the country at 293.4.

Dr Holohan said that the situation there is “extremely concerning for public health doctors locally”.

“We are calling on community leaders in areas such as Donegal, where the virus is still circulating at dangerous levels, to encourage the people there to stick with the public health measures, especially if they are vulnerable or have yet to be vaccinated,” he said.

“January was a difficult time for us as a country, but particularly tough for those in Donegal. It is important that we look forward now and work together to reduce incidence nationally, but also in our own locality.

“Your individual actions for the good of your neighbours and community do matter, and they will make all the difference.”

Dr Holohan said every action needs to be taken over the next week to ten days to turn the situation in Donegal around.

He also said there will be additional testing in the county.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said that Donegal has more or less been above the national average since September.

He told the briefing that workplaces do not seem to be a key factor in the increased incidence rate in the county.

“We’re seeing birthday parties, peer parties, older secondary school children meeting outside of school, social events linked to funerals,” Dr Glynn said.

The Department of Health has been notified of four further coronavirus-related deaths and 545 new cases. Of today’s cases, 29 were reported in Donegal.

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Dr Holohan said it is an “obvious potential scenario” that there might be a different application of measures to high-incidence areas such as Donegal, but it is not envisaged at this time.

He said the message to the county is that “we need to see something turn around very quickly in that part of the country”.

“Individuals in Donegal will need to protect themselves and not engage in much of the kinds of activities that other parts of the country will be able to experience.”

He said there is higher risk to people in Donegal in these activities.



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