Covid 19

  • NPHET will discuss the country's record number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations when it meets this morning.
    There are now 954 people in hospital with the virus and 7,836 new cases of Covid 19 were confirmed yesterday - with both figures the highest since the pandemic began.
    In Mayo 121 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, 178 cases in Galway, 93 in Sligo, 25 in Roscommon and 24 in Leitrim.
    The chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, says the country is likely to see an increasing number of deaths and ICU admissions in the coming days and weeks.
    Dr Gerald Barry, a virologist in UCD, says the situation will get worse before it gets better.

  • Non-essential retail is opening for the final day for at least a month, as the country has entered its third lockdown.

    Household visits were banned at midnight after the third record daily number of Covid-19 infections since Christmas.

    Meanwhile, school holidays extended until the second week of January.

    The measures will end on January 31st.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin says the Government will take a cautious approach to lifting them.

  • The Government is said to be considering accelerating the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions if the number of new cases continues to decline.

    The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may make an announcement in early June on easing parts of the lockdown.

    The next phase in the planned easing of the lockdown is due on June 8th, with a further phase on June 29th, and another on July 20th. But if the numbers of cases and deaths continue to fall in the coming weeks, some aspects of the July 20th opening could be brought forward to June 29th.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said four additional Covid-19 deaths and 57 new cases were reported yesterday, a significant fall when compared to the height of the crisis.

    Nonetheless the number of confirmed cases in Mayo continues to rise, with rises in confirmed cases in counties Galway and Roscommon again yesterday.

    The number of people who have tested positive for Covid 19 in Mayo now stands at 568, that’s up 4, the number in Galway is 458 (up 3), Roscommon 318 (up 4), Sligo remains the same at 129, and Leitrim the same at 82.

  • HSE Community Healthcare West has confirmed an outbreak of Covid-19 in an older persons' community residential facility in north Mayo.

    Midwest News understands that a number of residents and staff have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days. 

    Additional HSE staff and resources have been redeployed to the facility to assist with the management of resident safety and care. 

    In a statement to Midwest News this evening, the HSE said it was conducting a daily outbreak teleconference with the facility and Community Healthcare West. 

    The statement went on to say the HSE continues to provide a range of supports to all Long Term Residential Facilities across the country, including Private Nursing Homes. 

    This support is primarily managed through area Covid Response Teams and includes management support, provision of free PPE and other necessary supplies, Public Health and other clinical inputs, accommodation arrangements for certain staff, support with sourcing staffing and, in some cases, the reassignment of HSE staff to support nursing homes.  

  • The head of the HSE says a ray of hope is emerging as Covid 19 vaccines ramp up.

    Over 100,000 people are expected to receive a jab this week.

     So far, Ireland has been vaccinating around 40,000 people a week but that's to increase in the coming days.

    Almost 110 thousand people are expected to receive a jab this week
    Of those, around 12 thousand are in nursing homes, 62 thousand are frontline health care workers and 36 thousand are over the age of 85.

    Head of the HSE, Paul Reid, says the numbers will increase even further in the coming weeks.
    It comes as the government finalises changes to the vaccine priority list, which could see thousands of people with underlying conditions getting vaccinated sooner than originally planned.
    However, there is still no certainty over family carers and whether they will be moved up the list.



  • Ireland's Covid-19 lockdown could last beyond April, with only schools and construction expected to be allowed reopen before March.

    According to the Sunday Independent, government's privately warning it could be summer before hospitality can open again while international tourism's being ruled out this year.

    The Cabinet will decide on reopening schools and construction in two weeks, however the decision will be based on reduced case numbers, ICU admissions and the number of vulnerable people vaccinated.

  • The HSE's mass testing of staff in meat plants and food processing facilities has been suspended.

    It began two weeks ago and since then, 40 positive cases have been identified.

    But the HSE says demand for testing in the community has trebled since Monday, and resources are being re-directed.

    It says serial testing in the plants will resume next week, but Siptu's Greg Ennis says that's unacceptable.

  • Covid-19 testing is commercially available at Ireland West Airport Knock now.

    Air passengers, members of the public and local businesses can avail of the walk-in service.

    It is operated by RocDoc, who run similar drive-thru testing facilities at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.

    Two tests are available - however one called a LAMP is not recognised to be used for travel by the EU.

    Chief Executive, David Rock, says the centre will have the capacity to test a large number of people.

    The Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons was the first person to be tested at the new facility today that opened at 12 noon.

    Fr Gibbons described the test as not difficult and adds to the sense of safety for people travelling this yuletide.

    Speaking to Midwest News he said it's difficult to see the airport closed at present, but said in a few days time it will be back in operation, however, traffic through it will be significantly down this Christmas compared to recent years, due to the pandemic.


  • Students at NUI Galway are being urged to contact the university if they feel unwell, or think they're a close contact, after a  Covid-19 outbreak there.

    Helplines have been set up to assist students, and will be staffed from 9am to 9pm.

    NUI Galway also says people who have symptoms can contact their GP if they'd prefer to, instead of the Student Health Unit.

    Students' Union President, Padraic Toomey, says the outbreak coincided with the start of the new semester.

  • Progress in reducing the spread of Covid-19 has stalled in recent days, according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

    Dr Ronan Glynn says the country remains in a precarious position - and has urged people not to lose the gains made so far.

    The 5 day average of cases is now 523 - and NPHET says the UK variant will make it harder to reduce the numbers.

    Dr Nuala O'Connor from the Irish College of GPs says it's important everyone sticks with the restrictions.

  • A new system of COVID restrictions will come into place across the country from midnight.

    The priority from the government will be to keep schools open in as many circumstances as possible.

    Five levels of restrictions will be announced that can be applied in different counties.

    The cabinet meeting to approve the rules has just finished up (10.50am) and an announcement is expected in the next hour.

    Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said this will provide a clear roadmap for the next nine months:

  • Direct payments to farmers selected for an inspection by the Department of Agriculture will not encounter payment delays this year.

    That's according to IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe who says the Department has confirmed that they have now secured flexibility from the EU Commission to make payments on inspection cases where they are not fully complete.

    He said in previous years it was most frustrating and unsatisfactory that many farmers who were selected for inspection incurred payment delays.

    Mr. Rushe says with over 129,000 farmers making a Basic Payment application across all the schemes and the severe income problems from the COVID-19 crisis this year, it is absolutely essential that all farmers are paid on time.

  • The HSE has joined with the Mayo County Council and the Gardaí in the county to appeal to the people of Mayo to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

    The three agencies have come together to appeal to people to follow the public health advice and stay at home to protect themselves and each other given the significant and sustained increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.

    The three principle agencies say the recent rise in figures for those contracting the virus in the county is extremely concerning.

    They are urging everyone across Mayo to stay at home, protect themselves and each other and protect the health services. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign has now begun in the county and they are reminding everyone of the importance of ensuring older and vulnerable people are kept safe, so that they can avail of it in the coming weeks.

    Dr Breda Smyth, HSE Director of Public Health in the West said, “Over the last two weeks in particular we have seen a really worrying increase in the numbers of people being diagnosed with COVID-19 across county Mayo but in particular Ballyhaunis, Ballina, Belmullet, Castlebar and Claremorris.

    In the two week period between December 21st and January 3rd there were 862 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mayo. Remember COVID-19 is highly contagious and you can be infectious without having any symptoms. Now more than ever we are asking the community across Mayo to stick to the advice and stay at home where possible, avoid unnecessary interactions and protect each other. Our individual actions do matter and they all count.”

  • There is an alarming increase in the growth rate of Covid 19 in county Mayo over the past seven days, of over 100 percent.

    From New Year’s Eve until Sunday the 3rd of January, the number of new cases of the virus in the county went from 278 to 576.

    These figures were cited today by Dr Breda Smyth, Director of Public Health HSE West 

    Dr Smyth explained that in the first wave of this pandemic the highest number of daily incidents of the virus across Mayo, Roscommon and Galway was 50.

    In the second wave, 150 cases of Covid 19 in any one day was the highest number recorded across the three county region.

    In this third wave that daily number across the three counties has risen to 500.

    The 14 day incident rate per 100,000 population in Mayo now stands at 660, that’s above the national incident rate of 582.

    Both Galway and Roscommon’s 14 day incident rate remains below the national average at 417 and 405 respectively.


    The Dublin Horse Show has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

    The Horse Show was due to take place at the RDS in Dublin from 15-19 July, but this evening the RDS has announced the event is cancelled,  as part of the national effort to control the virus.



  • The need for primary school children to have regular PE classes this academic year, as schools are re-opening in a Covid 19 regulated environment is very important according to education experts.

    While significant adaptations need to be made by teachers and schools to ensure that this vital piece of the curriculum is retained, nonetheless, the Co-Chairs of the Irish Primary PE Association Susan Marron and Caitriona Cosgrave believe that the subject can be successfully re-introduced with many other changes for students, returning to school over the next number of days.

    The DES, the dept of Education and Science, is providing safety advice to schools about new measures required for the safe re-opening of schools in a Covid regulated era.

    The Co-Chairs of the Irish Primary PE Association, lecturer in DCU’s School of Arts, Education and Movement  - Susan Marron and primary school teacher- Caitriona Cosgrave told Midwest News today that its essential that PE classes are retained and that limited equipment can be safely used and sanitized in schools.

    They said that while some schools may have converted the PE hall to a classroom to accommodate a large class under covid regulations, many school principals have resisted the temptation to do so, in light of the importance of physical education  in schools.


    The 6th coronavirus testing centre was commissioned today for the HSE region covering the counties of Mayo, Roscommon and Galway.

    A testing centre is up and running at the new swimming pool complex at Lough Lannagh Castlebar, and efforts are now underway with the GAA to secure another large drive-through testing facility in Castlebar.

    Tomorrow a new drive through coronavirus test centre will be up and running at Galway airport.

    Anyone with symptoms of the virus should first check the HSE website, and then contact their GP who may then refer them to a local testing centre

  • Another eight people have died with Covid-19 in the Republic, and there are 444 new cases.

    158 of the new infections are in Dublin, with 48 in Cork, 36 in Galway and 28 in Limerick.

    The remaining 174 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

    There are twelve new cases in Roscommon, eleven in Mayo, six in Sligo and less than five in Leitrim.

    310 patients are in hospital with the disease, with 41 in intensive care.

  • A further 591 coronavirus have been reported this afternoon, alongside eight more virus-related deaths.

    Across Connacht there 21 new cases in Galway, less than five in both Mayo and Sligo and there no new cases in Roscommon or Leitrim.

    This morning there were 264 COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals – ten less than yesterday morning.

    Meanwhile, the number in intensive care fell by one to 62.

  • New Covid-19 infections fell over a fifth last week -- with NPHET now saying there are clear signs transmission is down.

    The latest data shows 309 more people have contracted the virus, and eight more patients are confirmed to have died.

    Health Minister Stephen Donnelly's called it the "most positive" briefing he's had from officials in "a long time".

    The reproduction number's estimated at between zero-point seven and one.

    Across Connacht there are 13 new cases in Galway, eight in Mayo, less than five in Leitrim and no new cases in either Sligo or Roscommon.