Kerry and Waterford have the highest rates of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Ireland with worrying levels of virus also in Monaghan and Donegal, it emerged yesterday.
verall positivity rates in the community have risen to one in ten of people who are being tested turning out to have the virus.
But it is as high as up to 15pc among those tested in the worst-hit counties.
It comes as the numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital rose to 402 yesterday, although of these the number in intensive care dropped slightly to 73.
Another 1,466 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that “over recent days we have seen an increasing number of people with Covid-19 admitted to hospital and to intensive care”.
“Recently, approximately 70pc of people being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 have not been fully vaccinated. This is a significant cause for concern,” he added.
“Vaccination, along with our continuing adherence to the public health advice, will break the chains of transmission and drive down incidence of Covid-19 in our communities.
“If you display any symptoms of Covid-19 including a high temperature, dry cough, or flu-like symptoms – please stay at home. Do not go to work, school, college or socialise.
“I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to take up the opportunity to do so as soon as possible to best protect yourself and those around you from Covid-19.
“I also urge anyone who is eligible for a flu vaccine to come forward and receive it as soon as it is offered to you. You can arrange an appointment to receive your flu vaccine via your GP or local pharmacy. “
Earlier, it emerged that the median age of people who are now testing positive for the virus had increased from 27 years to 34 years, according to Niamh O’Beirne, the HSE’s national lead for testing and tracing,.
There is also evidence of a rise in people over 65 testing positive, with fewer teenagers, people in their twenties and thirties. Those not vaccinated aged 30 to 50 are at greater risk of being admitted to hospital with the virus.
Meanwhile, Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar has suspended ward visits until further notice. It follows a high number of Covid cases diagnosed in the hospital.
The hospital is also seeing a rise in attendances at its emergency department.
The hospital said “this is a precautionary measure in order to protect the safety of patients and staff. It will also help reduce the spread of infection”.
Dr Glynn urged people to “regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate – particularly in retail settings, on public transport and in healthcare settings, keep your distance, open windows and ventilate indoor spaces, and choose outdoors where possible for meeting others.
“This suite of measures will help stop the transmission of Covid-19, seasonal influenza, common colds and other respiratory illnesses that are more prevalent over the winter months.”
The Government looks set to continue with the lifting of the vast majority of restrictions from October 22.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet to assess the situation in advance.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland