DEPUTY Cathal Crowe is appealing for a collective effort from Clare people to reduce the very high incidence of Covid-19 in the county and avoid spending Christmas in lockdown.
As Clare people face six-weeks of Level Five restrictions from last Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 1,000 for the first time in the county when 1,030 were notified on October 17.
Thirty-three more cases were confirmed a day later bringing the county total to 1,063 on October 18.
Deputy Crowe said he feels particularly bad for businesses facing closure again and remains fully available to help and advise them in terms of supports.
“The people of Clare have already made huge efforts to flatten the curve back in the spring months and yet here we are facing into the same situation once again.
“I know how disheartening this will be, how detrimental it will be to people’s mental health, but I hope that people in their individual actions and with a collective resolve will face up to Covid-19 once again over the next six weeks,” he said.
Last week, Clare had the fourth highest 14-day incidence rate of the virus in the country with 303 per 100,000 compared to just 77 in Tipperary and 183 in Limerick.
This rate, which has rocketed from about 70% from September 17 to September 30, is still very high and is way above the national average of 279%.
While the virus is increasing faster in some counties, Clare still finds itself very close to the top of the table at eighth position.
There were 383 new cases in the county from October 4 to October 7 giving a 14-day incidence of 322. It has continued around this level with 387 new cases from October 5 to 18 and 382 cases from October 6 to 19.
This compares to a much lower incidence in Tipperary where there were 174 new cases from October 4 to 17 giving an incidence rate of 109 and this rate has remained very similar in recent days.
The rate is also high in neighbouring Limerick where there were 488 new cases from October 4 to October 17 giving an overall rate of 250 per 100,000.
The Killaloe Electoral Area has the lowest 14-day incidence of Covid-19 in the county.
There were just 16 confirmed cases on September 29 giving a 14-day incidence of 79 per 100,000. The figures are also very low in the Ennistymon Electoral Area with just 17, which translates into a rate of 103.6.
The Ennis Electoral Area continues to have the highest incidence rate of 423% well above the national average of 177 and there were 131 new cases during this period.
While the figure of 86 new cases in the Kilrush Electoral Area are lower than Ennis it has a much smaller population, which means its 14-day incidence of 409% is also very high.
It looks as if up to 84 Clare people who received a positive test last weekend may be asked to advise their close contacts they have the virus.
Due to the high numbers of cases and in an effort to maintain effective turnaround times for contact tracing, the HSE is asking up to 2,500 confirmed cases nationally to alert their own close contacts
People who were alerted by text on Friday, Saturday and Sunday by the HSE will receive another text , which can be forwarded to their close contacts.
The message, which replaces the contact tracing phone call, advises close contacts restrict their movements and immediately contact their GP to arrange a test.
The HSE says that this is one-off temporary measure being implemented in consultation with GPs, to ensure those affected are tested as quickly as possible.
The Mid-West Department of Health has urged people to continue adhering to public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus.
This includes staying at home if a person feels unwell, avoid crowded places, maintain a two metre social distance, wear a face covering in shops, indoor settings and public transport, hand washing, good respiratory hygiene and reduce social contacts.