SOME 70 cases of Covid-19 have been linked to pubs and restaurants across Cork over the last two weeks.
Dr Ronan Glynn revealed the startling figure tonight as he confirmed that the Rebel County, along with Roscommon, Galway and Monaghan, was being closely watched by health chiefs due to spiking cases.
The acting Chief Medical Officer also said a large outbreak in Galway has been linked to a house party.
He said: “In Cork, there’s been about 70 cases associated with pubs and restaurants over the past couple of weeks.
“That’s in the context of 350 cases in Cork over the past fortnight so it’s a portion but it does point to the fact that there are certain settings that are high-risk.
“Similarly in Galway, we’ve had a significant cluster associated with a house party and again, this is not in any way an attempt to demonise but the reality is it’s a large cluster associated with younger people.”
SOME SETTINGS ‘DRIVE VIRUS FORWARD’
NPHET meet again on Thursday where they will discuss the current situation however, Dr Glynn said the cases linked to the pubs and restaurants will not necessarily dictate their thinking.
Responding to a reporter, he said: “Not in particular, no (inform NPHET’s thinking). It’s a little bit more evidence of what we’ve seen internationally and what we’ve been talking about.
“I’m pointing them out simply because they are part of the issue but there not the entirety of the issue and let’s be very clear here that ultimately the path of disease in Cork or Galway or anywhere else in the country will be dictated by what individuals and families do.
“Yes there will be events and there will be settings that drive it forward but ultimately I’m appealing to people in their families to act as if it’s around them and keep themselves safe.”
‘STILL TIME TO CONTROL VIRUS’
A further 390 cases were confirmed this evening with 21 cases confirmed in both Cork and Galway.
Monaghan’s case total rose by 14 while Roscommon saw a further seven positive tests.
In a separate statement issued tonight, Dr Glynn said there is “still time” to control the virus in those four counties.
He said: “I am asking everyone, but particularly those living and working in Cork, Galway, Monaghan and Roscommon, to adhere to the public health advice.
“There is still time to get the virus back under control in these areas, break the chains of transmission and stop the spread of this highly infectious disease in these communities.
“We know the key actions to take to stay safe, by keeping a 2m distance, reducing your social contacts, wearing a face mask, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home and contacting your GP if you start to feel unwell, you are doing everything you can to take care of yourself and those around you.”
Dr Glynn also shared one shocking scenario where one virus case led to a cluster of 56 cases.
He told the briefing: “The first case in this cluster was the black dot in the middle square. That was a person who had symptoms but felt that they weren’t very significant symptoms so didn’t self-isolate, didn’t contact their GP and met up with a group of friends.
“Unfortunately from that meeting directly led to 13 other cases. One of those cases, up in the top left, despite knowing they were a contact of a case didn’t restrict their movements, despite having had a test, met up with other friends that led to another nine cases.
“If you look down to the bottom right, a further case met up with extended family, went to a sports activity and overall that one case led to 56 other cases.”
‘TOO EARLY’ FOR HALLOWEEN ADVICE
Meanwhile, the country’s top doctor said it was still too early to offer advice on Halloween and Christmas.
He added: “Halloween, Christmas, these are really important events for children and families.
“I think it’s too early to say at this point what will or won’t need to happen in a month’s time but we will look at it closer to the time and if recommendations need to be made they will be made.”
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has called for “extra focus” over the next two weeks.
While speaking at the launch of a national leaflet drop of the National Framework for Living with Covid-19, he said: “The launch of this leaflet, a copy of which will be sent to every home in the country, is an important moment.
“It is an opportunity to remind the country of the choice we face for the coming winter.
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“Each one of us has the power to slow and suppress the spread of this virus – it is up to each one of us to choose what we are going to do in the face of the threat.
“By sticking to the advice on hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing, and by respecting the restrictions that are in place where we live, we can bring it back under control.
“The next two weeks are critical and I am calling on everyone to bring extra focus to the task for the next fortnight.”