A Kildare councillor said people would “freak out” if another localised lockdown was put in place, with the county now having the highest incidence rate in the country.
n Wednesday, Kildare overtook Donegal as the county with the highest 14-day incidence of Covid-19 with 251.7 cases per 100,000 population. There were 35 cases there yesterday.
Kildare-Newbridge Fianna Fáil Councillor Anne Connolly said she’s not entirely sure why numbers are so high in the area, although the majority of new cases are in younger cohorts.
“Is it a case of these are just out and about a bit more? Back at work? Back at the building? I don’t know, I don’t have the answer to it, but it isn’t great that we are so high with the numbers,” Ms Connolly said.
“I haven’t heard of anything like an organised party, or weddings. I haven’t heard anything like that.”
However, she emphasised how difficult another localised lockdown could be for the people of Kildare, which had an additional period of restrictions as cases spiked last August.
“People forget you see, this might have been the third lockdown, but it was the fourth lockdown for the people of Kildare,” she said.
“We were locked down there for three weeks there, Kildare, Offaly and Laois… And people would say to me, you know, if they decide to go back to something like this in Kildare they will actually freak.
“But that three weeks was a tough weeks in Kildare. A tough three weeks.”
Dr Brendan O’Shea of The Bridge Medical Centre in Newbridge said there are a number of factors which may be contributing to Kildare’s higher rate of infection. Newbridge has one of the highest incidence rates out of any local electoral area, with 484.8 per 100,000.
“Kildare is a very busy county. There’s a lot of commuting in and out of it. It’s not as densely populated obviously as an urban centre like Limerick or Dublin, but parts of it are actually quite densely populated,” he said.
“Reflecting on our last lockdown… certainly at that time some of the industries in the county may have been a focus or a concern in relation to Covid infection. Particularly in food processing and meat handling.
“We also have a really good testing system, and we’re doing an awful lot of tests. I don’t know whether that’s driving up the number of actual new cases.”
As for what’s best to bring these numbers down, Dr O’Shea said the public should try as much as possible to stick with the public health advice.
“The last time we had a lockdown we got out of it reasonably quickly. Everybody in Kildare pulled together. And I’m sure the vast majority of people will do the right thing,” he said.
“It’s the pandemic, so every aspect of it is a cause of concern. And to an extent I think people are exhausted from the level of concern and anxiety that is being generated.
“I think it’s useful to speculate on any of these things as causative, or possibly causative. But I think it’s far more constructive and important to understand we know exactly how we know exactly how to get these numbers down and to set about doing that.
“So I think if everybody is personally responsible – and that’s challenging and terribly monotonous at this stage – but it’s also effective.”
Ms Connolly also noted that the conversation across Ireland has shifted from “I’ve got Covid-19”, to “I’ve got the vaccine”.
“So many that you know have been vaccinated. That rollout of that has just been really, really good in the last number of weeks,” she said.
“So that kind of alleviates the worry somewhat, but… I would prefer it if the numbers were a lot lower.”
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