SHOW OF SOLIDARITY The front offices of The Mayo News and Berry’s Stationery Shop on The Fairgreen in Westport are pictured lit-up at 9pm on Saturday evening as part of the #ShineALight campaign, highlighting our solidarity with everyone battling the Covid-19 outbreak. The ‘Shine Your Light’ campaign called on everyone to show their support for the sick, those who have died, their loved ones and everyone on the front-line.
Mayo now has more cases than neighbouring Galway, which has twice the population
According to figures released on Sunday, April 12, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mayo had jumped by 134 percent in the previous seven days, overtaking Galway as the county with the most cases in Connacht.
These Covid-19 figures released by the National Public Health Emergency Team at the Department of Health – the latest available at time of going to print on Monday evening – show that the number of cases in Mayo stands at 183, taking it ahead of Galway which has 178 cases. Nationally there has been 9,655 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with Mayo’s figures representing 2.2 percent of the overall number.
Mayo has seen a surge of confirmed cases in the last week, with the numbers rising from 78 seven days ago to 183 - a jump of 134 percent. The latest figures of confirmed cases are up until midnight on Friday, April 10.
The largest rise in a 24 hour period occurred between Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4 when the figure rose from 78 to 107, a jump of 37 percent. This rise also saw the county’s national percentage of cases rise from 1.8 percent on April 3 to 2.2 percent.
The sudden increase in cases over the last seven days will be seen as a worrying trend for health professionals in the county, with the rise not following the trend experienced in other Connacht counties. The number of confirmed cases has slowed in Galway with the county experiencing a 64 percent rise in the last seven days but its national case figure has fallen from 2.4 percent to 2.1 percent.
Of the other Connacht counties, the number of confirmed cases in Sligo stands at 45 while Leitrim has 21 and Roscommon has 31.
There are currently two Covid-19 community test centres located in Mayo - at MacHale Park and Lough Lannagh Swimming Pool in Castlebar. At a media briefing yesterday (Monday), the HSE explained that the current national backlog in testing for Covid-19 stands at 11,000 and should be ‘completely reduced’ by the end of the week.
Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE said that the backlog has been reduced by increasing their own own lab capacity and testing being carried out in a German laboratory. He explained that the turnaround times for testing carried out in hospitals is now between 24 and 36 hours. He said the turnaround for community testing was a more complex process and there is is ‘further work to do’ in this regard.
Meanwhile, access to the county’s many beaches and other amenities are expected to be restricted for another three weeks after Covid-19 restrictions were extended until Tuesday, May 5.
Leo Varadkar made the announcement on Good Friday following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency team.
Mayo County Council closed all public car parks at beaches in the county on Holy Thursday as well as the car parks at Croagh Patrick and Westport Skate Park.
A spokesperson for Mayo County Council said the decision was made to ensure as much compliance as possible with Covid-19 restrictions.
“Current Government guidelines in place are clear that all citizens should not be travelling further than 2km from their home except for essential purposes. With the good weather and Easter weekend approaching we have taken the decision to implement these closures to beach car parks to make it clear that people outside the immediate 2km area should not visit public beaches at this time,” they said.
The closures are expected to remain in place for as long as current government restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19 remain in place.
There was concern among some residents in some tourist areas before the Easter about an influx of tourists travelling west for the Bank Holiday weekend. An extensive Garda operation was put in place throughout the country to ensure people did not travel further than 2km from their home. While there were reports of some holiday homes being occupied over the weekend, people by and large adhered to appeals by the Gardaí and the Government to remain at home.