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Tag Archives: Covid-19

90% of Clare vaccinated against Covid, but booster uptake is low

NO part of Clare has less than 89% of its population vaccinated, according to the Central Statistics Office, but the level of people who have taken boosters is far lower. West Clare has the highest level of vaccination in the county, with more than 95.8% of people aged 12 or over there having taken it. The Ennistymon, Killaloe and Ennis Municipal Districts all had vaccination rates of between 93.6 and 94.7%. The Shannon Municipal District had the lowest level of vaccination in Clare, with approximately 90% of people there vaccinated. Of those who got fully vaccinated in the Ennistymon Municipal District, 69% went on to get boosted also. The Kilrush Municipal District is just behind at 68%, in Ennis and Killaloe the figure is 66%, while in the Shannon Municipal District it is 65%. All this shows that over one third of Clare people have not taken boosters, for one reason or another. Across the country in 90% of Municipal …

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Only 4% of air travellers in 2021 used Shannon Airport

FOUR percent of all passengers to Irish airports in 2021 went through Shannon, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. Obviously Covid-19 was very disruptive to aviation last year, making for a very strange year. Shannon’s 4% was ahead of Cork which had 3%, but Cork was closed for a couple of months due to works on its runway. Dublin was hugely dominant in terms of Irish aviation, with 90% of all passengers. Shannon had 322,162 passengers during the year, only one fifth of the 2019 figure, just before the pandemic. The figure was almost 50,000 ahead of 2020. Shannon dealt with 4,836 different flights over the course of the year. The three most used links with Shannon were all London airports. The busiest route was Stansted with 63,624 passengers, while 33,797 passengers travelled on the London Gatwick route and 24,050 on London Heathrow. The Heathrow services were significantly reduced in 2021 and the figure would presumably have been …

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Covid and ED surge means elective activity largely halted at UHL

A SUSTAINED surge in emergency presentations and a significant increase in Covid-19 cases has led to almost all elective activity at University Hospital Limerick being deferred until further notice. This includes outpatient appointments, elective surgery and diagnostic investigations. UHL has moved to its highest level of escalation, meaning emergency and time-critical care for the sickest patients is being prioritised. Services at Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital and St John’s Hospital are largely unaffected and patients in these hospitals are advised to attend for their appointments or procedures unless contacted directly by our staff and advised otherwise. A spokesperson for UL Hospitals Groups said, “We sincerely regret this significant reduction in service at University Hospital Limerick, which is necessary to prioritise emergency and time-critical care. Affected patients will be contacted as soon as possible to reschedule their appointments and procedures. “The Emergency Department remains open 24-7 for emergency cases and emergency and trauma surgery is …

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UHL closed to visitors over Covid and flu outbreaks

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick (UHL) will be closed to inpatient visiting for the next number of days due to multiple outbreaks of Covid-19 and influenza across the site. There are limited exceptions to the safety measure including parents visiting children in hospital; people assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia) (on a case-by-case basis); people visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end of life (on a case-by-case basis). All exemptions are limited to one person per patient only. Seven wards are currently affected, and on the recommendation of the UL Hospitals outbreak teams, the decision to close to visitors was taken as a precautionary measure. A spokesperson said that all appropriate infection control precautions were being followed to minimise the risk of spreading infection among staff and patients in the hospital, and also within the wider community. “The situation is being monitored and reviewed daily, and we will relax the restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so. We’re …

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Curtain falls on Shannon Musical Society’s hope for 2022 show

HAVING first decided to postpone its 2022 show, Shannon Musical Society has now decided to cancel it altogether. Its production of Little Shop of Horrors was going to happen in April, but the Society felt that despite the loosening of restrictions, allowing it to go ahead could potentially result in serious problems. Aodán Fox was set to direct the production, and he said it had been a difficult decision. “It was a tough call to have to make to be honest, but there were several concerns. The fact that we could have been in a position financially to put ourselves in major danger if we had all the outlay and we were hit by Omicron, either the week before or the week of the show and have to cancel, that was a major concern. “It could put the Society in grave danger of not being able to continue. After chatting it out with the cast and the committee, it was …

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Samaritans: loneliness and anxiety heightened during pandemic

ALMOST two years of restrictions helped stem the march of Covid-19, but it undoubtedly came at a cost to many people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Loneliness was always one of the main reasons that people picked up the phone and rang the Samaritans, and with interaction virtually banned at certain times and severely restricted at all others, it was far worse than ever between March 2020 and January 2022. Margaret McMahon is director the Clare & Ennis branch of the Samaritans and on Monday, she said the pandemic had resulted in more callers. “I think we got more callers and they were coming from a wider range of backgrounds. We would have had students who were not back at home, young people who would have been staying away and there are all the pressures that come with that in a family.” “Particularly in the beginning there would have been people who were trying to keep a long distance relationship together. …

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Clare priest calls for period of post-pandemic reflection

THE Parish Priest of Tulla has repeated his call for a period of reflection and healing, as pandemic restrictions finally lift and a day of national commemoration is planned.  Fr Brendan Quinlivan, who is also Diocesan Communications Officer, welcomed plans for remembrance events on Sunday, March 20, and urged that all of the losses and sacrifices endured since early 2020 be acknowledged. Figures released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that 150 people in Clare died with Covid-19 between March 3 2020 and January 18 of this year.  Last March, in the height of a Level 5 lockdown, Fr Quinlivan warned of an impending crisis of unsolved grief and loss, and urged the Government to address those issues as soon as the Covid emergency abated.  “It’s very important that we acknowledge in a formal way and a ritual way, the great sense of loss experienced in so many ways over the last two years,” he said. “First and …

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PUP being wound down after €9bn in payments

THE Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), which kept the lights on in the local and national economy for much of the pandemic, is about to be wound down. At one point in May of 2020 almost 15,000 Clare people were receiving the payment, which was then set at €350 per week. Even on January 11 2022 there were still 1,754 people in the county receiving the PUP, but almost all restrictions having been removed now, that figure is likely to have fallen in recent days. The PUP closed to new applications from last Saturday, January 22, as the restrictions were being scrapped. From March 8, anyone still in receipt of it will move to a weekly rate of €208, which is a four week extension on what had been planned. From then on the recipients will be transitioning to standard jobseeker terms and, if eligible, they will move to a jobseekers payment from April 5. While the PUP was criticised by …

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