Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests are taking place in Limerick as the county struggles to get to grips with a huge surge in cases.Over the month of May, a total of 18,214 tests were taken, 1,370 more than at the height of the third wave in January.Currently, two testing centres are operating in the city one, on the Ballysimon Rd, which has been operating since last October and another at St Josephs Health Campus, Mulgrave St, which has operated intermittently, with its most recent opening on May 26.
Since May 16, a total of 17,248 tests have been done between the two facilities.
In the same time period, there have been 970 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Limerick, meaning roughly 5.5% of those tested have come back positive.
Health chiefs have rolled out a period of active case finding due to the high number of cases, allowing them to track, trace, and follow the disease in the region. 
Mass gatherings
Mass gatherings, including house parties, and workplace clusters are among the reasons for the surge in cases, officials have said.
On Friday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan met with public representatives, public health doctors, local politicians, and community leaders from the Limerick area to discuss the recent steep rise in cases.
In a statement following the meeting, Mr Donnelly said the sharp spike in cases puts the “hard-won progress against Covid-19″ at risk.
Health officials are currently not favouring any sort of local lockdown, despite the high number of cases, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar earlier in the week suggesting such a move is not always guaranteed to work. 
Dr Holohan warned that it is not safe for people who are not vaccinated to gather in Limerick, though.
The society and economy is continuing on the path of opening up and easing restrictions, which will make things possible for people to do, said Dr Holohan on Live95fm.
Really, in Limerick at the moment, the levels of infection are so high that we think that for people who are not vaccinated, that is not going to be safe to do some of these things.”
Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche told a Joint Policing Committee meeting, which was held by Limerick City and County Council on Friday, that the work the HSE is doing in the area was incredible, particularly given the added stresses resulting from the recent cyberattack.
‘Worn out’
Chief Supt Roche said that, in combination with the council and local health officials, the gardaí in Limerick had plans in place which are designed to try to reduce the possibility of further infection. He went on to say that he was well aware that people, in particular, younger people, are worn out due to the restrictions.
Meanwhile, Ballybunion councillor Robert Beasley said that there were certainly concerns regarding people from Limerick travelling down to the Kerry seaside town. He estimated that around 4,500 people flocked to Ballybunion last weekend.
Everybody is welcome, and we need the people from Limerick, but we certainly don’t need them to bring the virus. I personally would have concerns about it, said Mr Beasley.
However, he said he does not feel the crowds will be as big this weekend.
Leaving Cert
Public Health Mid-West said it is aware of a “small number” of Leaving Cert students who will be unable to sit the exams after they either tested positive, or were confirmed as a close contact and must self-isolate. Local Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said it was entirely conceivable and predictable that some students would miss out on the written exams because of self-isolation, and that a backup paper should have been prepared. He described the failure to plan for this as “inexcusable”.

You may also like