Tuesday, 15 September 2020
Department of Health
At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the very significant impact of the recent measures on individuals, communities and businesses in Kildare Laois and Offaly. I am fully aware that the improved situation in these counties has been due to the willingness of everyone to adhere to the public health guidance and the measures that were implemented. I would like to publicly thank all the people of Kildare, Laois and Offaly for their efforts over the past number of weeks in reducing the spread of Covid-19 across their counties. I would also like to acknowledge the work of my colleague Deputy Lawless during this time.
We now know, through the work of those in the affected counties, and what happened to the virus, that localised measures do work. As part of our deliberations on the development of the Roadmap for Resilience and Recovery which will be published later today, the learnings from the introduction of the measures in Kildare, Laois and Offaly were considered.
The decision to apply additional, enhanced public health measures to Kildare was based upon the available epidemiological evidence that was emerging at that stage.
As with many outbreak control measures, the full effect of the public health measures applied can take up to two incubation periods (28 days) of the virus to see full effect. It is worth recalling that we are still within this timeframe.
Nevertheless, I can assure the Deputy that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and the Department have examined the currently available epidemiological information in order to learn about the effects of the measures within Kildare and the surrounding areas.
In August, the cases per 100,000 population in Kildare, Laois and Offaly increased quickly and sharply. In Kildare, the increase in this incidence rate was initially driven by workplace outbreak related cases. Seven days later, a second peak emerged, driven primarily by household outbreak cases in the first instance as well as further workplace outbreak cases and isolated cases. The volumes of cases seen in Kildare during these peaks were as high as those observed at the height of the national epidemic in April of this year.
Since this time, the incidence rates in Kildare have dropped considerably, although it does remain one of the highest in the country currently. The average number of cases identified each day has also decreased significantly.
As with the rest of the country, the epidemiological situation will continue to be monitored closely by the Department, the HSE, the HPSC and the NPHET.