The Covid-19 crisis is deepening in Kerry with case number soaring across the entire county.
n the last week 552 new cases have been diagnosed in Kerry with new cases in the county now averaging around 120 a day, compared with just 12 in mid December.
While Iveragh and Tralee remain the worst affected areas the recent surge in the virus has seen swiftly growing case numbers in many regions that had previously escaped the worst of the pandemic.
The most recent figures for Kerry six Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) published by the HSE Health Surveillance Protection Centre (HSPC) paint a worrying picture of the virus’ spread in the county.
According to the figures – which cover the two weeks from December 15 to 28 – 413 new cases were diagnosed in Kerry in the period. That’s a little more than double the 205 Kerry cases diagnosed in the previous two week period measured b y the HSPC.
The Kenmare LEA – which covers the majority of the Iveragh peninsula is by far the worst affected with its 168 cases giving the area a case rate of 670.3 per 100,000 people, which was the highest recorded in Munster.
The previous fortnight the rate in the area was 438.9 with 110 cases.
The situation is also bleak in the Tralee LEA where a doubling of cases, from 55 to 115, has seen the local rate per 100,000 reach 348.1 by December 28.
While that is considerably lower than the rate in Kenmare the fact that the local population in Tralee is far more centralised is a major cause for concern.
Cases have risen in all other areas of the county as well. In the Listowel LEA a jump from six to 26 cases brought the rate to 90.7.
In Killarney an increase from 14 to 49 cases sees the local rate at 165.5
In Castleisland the rate is 175 after an increase in cases from 11 to 30 while a jump from nine case to 25 has seen the Dingle LEA rate rise to 176.3.
Case numbers are high and growing in neighbouring areas too. In Adare Rathkeale, which has the second highest rate in Munster, 183 new cases have seen the local rate per 100,000 reach 660.4. In Newcastle West the rate is 499.7 following 137 new diagnosis.
The LEA figures issued by the HSPC are a week old and the latest daily figures for Kerry show the situation continues to deteriorate.
The most recent daily figures available as The Kerryman went to press on Tuesday showed there had been 552 new Covid cases diagnosed in Kerry in the last week with the daily numbers rising steadily.
On December 28 there were 57 new cases in Kerry. By December 3 the daily tally in Kerry had reached 129.
Precisely where these cases emerged will remain unclear until the next LEA figures are released later this week but anecdotal evidence would suggest the previous trends are continuing.
With several thousand of the roughly 9,000 delayed test results from the Christmas holiday period still due to be added to the daily figures issued by NPHET it is likely the Kerry figures will increase steadily and significantly over the coming days and into next week at least.