The first three weeks of October saw more COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Kerry than in the first six months of the pandemic crisis.
ccording to the most recent local statistics on the virus’ spread – provided by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre – by October 1 a total of 405 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded in Kerry since the beginning of the outbreak in mid-March.
Of these, the majority were detected during the early stages of the outbreak, with only 38 cases found in the county between the start of May and the start of September, when cases rose from 302 on May 4 to 340 on September 4.
While Kerry, remarkably, escaped the worst of the virus during the height of the tourist season, cases began to increase steadily during September, when over 100 new cases were diagnosed in the county.
However, it was in October that cases in the county began to surge, rising steadily from 405 on October 1 to 976 cases on October 24.
The surge in cases has seen Kerry’s COVID-19 incidence rate go from just 21 per 100,000 people at the start of October to 299.9 per 100,000 last weekend.
The HSPC figures show the rate is markedly different, with some parts of the county far worse affected than others.
In the Listowel Electoral Area, where there have been 162 cases (based on the most up-to-date figures for the period to October 19) there is an incidence rate of 565 per 100,000.
By contrast, in the Dingle Electoral Area, where there have been just 10 cases, the rate is 70.5 per 100,000.
The Tralee LEA’s 58 cases translates to an incidence rate of 175.6; in the Killarney LEA there is a rate of 249.9 based on 74 Cases, and the 41 cases in the Kenmare LEA results in an incidence rate of 163.6 for the area.
11 cases at UHK
As The Kerryman went to press on Tuesday evening, the most recent available figures (for the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday) showed that there were 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) with two of those in the hospital’s critical care units.
Four of the 11 cases at UHK were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. There were no further suspected cases at the hospital.
Minister’s school in appeal
Education Minister Norma Foley’s former school has appealed to parents after “negative messages” were spread about students with COVID-19.
“It has been brought to my attention that some negative messaging has been circulated about some of our students in regard to recent positive COVID-19 testing,” Presentation Secondary School Principal Chrissie Kelly wrote to parents in a letter on Thursday. “I would appreciate if you had a conversation with your daughter to highlight the impact this offensive messaging can have on families,” she said.
“It can lead to a situation where people do not come forward if displaying symptoms or if tested positive”.
“It is imperative that we treat everybody with kindness, empathy and support,” Principal Kelly wrote.