The Department of Public Health Mid-West is urging people to immediately self-isolate if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, reporting unprecedented levels of infection in the community across Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary.
The current high volume of cases may result in delays in reporting, meaning that data may not be complete and up-to-date, it has warned.
The body claims, however, that preliminary analysis shows between 1,100 and 1,500 daily COVID-19 cases across the region. This would surpass previous records seen in January 2021 (902 cases on January 2, 2021).
“We expect this high level of infection to continue circulating in the community for a number of weeks, which is why we are appealing to the public to significantly reduce social activity,” said a spokesperson.
Public Health Mid-West is managing and monitoring a significant number of COVID-19 situations across a range of settings, including nursing homes, long-term care facilities, residential care facilities, special education needs facilities, and vulnerable populations.
Dr Anne Dee, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: “If you have any symptoms of cold or flu, no matter how mild, its likely be COVID-19, and you will need to self-isolate to protect other people around you.
“If you are awaiting antigen tests or PCR tests while symptomatic, continue self-isolating between seven and 10 days, depending on whether you have had a booster or not, or if you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months. It’s important to remember that testing will not stop transmission; isolation will.
“Omicron is a highly-transmissible variant, and symptoms can range from very mild to severe. As we see more cases, there will be more people with serious disease.”
Guidance on antigen tests and isolation
· If you are aged 4-39 and you have symptoms, you should self-isolate, and book a free antigen test through the HSE website. Antigen testing must be done three times.
· If you test negative on all tests and you still have symptoms, self-isolate until you are 48 hours symptom-free.
· If you awaiting an antigen test or PCR test while symptomatic, presume you have COVID-19, and continue self-isolating for seven (if you have received a booster or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months) to 10 (if you have not received a booster) days. If your symptoms continue after 10 days, self-isolate until you are 48 hours symptom-free. Make sure to consult your GP if you are feeling unwell.
· People who do not have symptoms and test positive on an antigen test should self-isolate and book a PCR test.