Pop-up test centre as new Covid cases soar

The free ‘walk-in and online self-referral’ test site will open at the Virginia Show Centre this weekend

A pop-up COVID-19 Test Centre will open in Virginia following reports that the spread of new infections in some parts of the county is running at more than three times the national average rate.

Covering the 14-day incidence from August 3 to 16, the electoral areas in Bailieborough-Cootehill LEA have experienced an incidence rate of 1433.5 cases per 100,000 of population, and Ballyjamesduff an incidence rate of 779 cases per 100,000 of population.

Bailieborough-Cootehill and Ballyjamesduff are amongst the top 15 LEAs out of 166 LEAs across Ireland, where the national incidence rate currently stands at 493.2/100,000.

The free ‘walk-in and online self-referral’ site will open for two days at the Virginia Show Centre, Friday-Saturday, August 27-28, from 10am-6pm each day.

People can book appointments online, or attend in person, bringing with them a photo ID and mobile phone number in order to receive their test results.

The alarm among health professionals in Cavan is mirrored across the border region where, of late, there has been a rapid spread of Covid infection.

Before Cavan, concern had focused on the Monaghan and Ballybay-Clones Local Electoral Areas where incidence rates ran at 868 and 712.8 cases/100,000 respectively.

At the time Covid incidence within the Monaghan LEA was double the national rate, and the HSE urged people against attending events outside recommended Public Health guidelines, stating such gatherings are having a "significant knock-on" effect in the community, including workplaces.

The rising rate of infection is mirrored north of the border, where new figures place Fermanagh and Omagh as having the highest Covid rates of any local authority in the UK.

For the week ending August 18, a total of 1,003.9/100,000 were reported in Fermanagh and Omagh.

It is the first time any local authority in the north has recorded rates over 1,000 since mass testing began in Summer 2020.

The rise in cases in communities in Cavan and Monaghan has meanwhile manifested in rising admissions to Cavan General Hospital also.

The number of patients being treated for Covid symptoms at the local hospital has trebled in the week up to Monday last, August 23.

The Anglo-Celt understands one of the nine patients admitted is currently being treated within the hospital's ICU, at least several patients were unvaccinated.

Over the weekend, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre reported that the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Irish hospitals in a single day had reached a level not seen since mid-February this year.

On Monday, Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said the latest stats indicate that the country has still not yet reached the peak of this current wave of infections, and that many more people may yet continue to experience severe illness due to COVID-19.

On his visit to Cavan last week to meet staff at the vaccination centre at the Hotel Kilmore, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly was told almost 43,000 vaccines have been delivered there since first opening to the public back in April. Of those, 23,000 are second doses, with 20,000 more first-time jabs.

Over 35,500 vaccinations meanwhile have been administered at the Monaghan Vaccination Centre, between its previous location at the Hillgrove hotel in Monaghan town and its current location at the Glencarn, Castleblayney.