A Cork GP has described a gradual rise in Covid-19 cases as "a concern" and has urged people to remain vigilant around guidelines.
It comes as new figures show that a number of areas across both the city and county have seen an increase in Covid-19 cases.
Last night, 42 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Cork bringing the number of cases reported in the county in the past 14 days to 440.
Speaking to the Echo, Cork GP and Covid-19 Adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), Dr. Mary Favier noted the importance of sticking to public health guidelines.
“It’s a concern across many counties in the last week in terms of a week-on-week increase in the five-day moving average and the 14-day incidence. So, it’s just to remind people how infectious this disease is, how we’re almost there….and to be really careful around the things they know so well and so easily forget in terms of hand hygiene and masks and distancing.”
She said that anticipating the relaxation of the rules may have caused people to “get ahead of the relaxation of the rules”.
“The cases in Cork have been low for a very long time so I think we’re probably patting ourselves on the back a little bit,” she added.
Cork GP and ICGP Clinical Lead on Covid-19, Dr Nuala O’Connor, said that while there is a “huge amount of positives” when looking at the overall picture of Covid-19 in Ireland, “at the same time we must be careful not to become complacent”.
Cork GP Dr John Sheehan said that an increase in case numbers was anticipated with a return to school and an increase in movement.
However, he noted that while the number of Covid-19 cases are “creeping up” the number of hospitalisations is not increasing.
“Although the numbers are creeping up, they are mainly creeping up in young people which obviously isn’t ideal, but at least we know from the data that the rate of serious illness amongst young people and the rate of hospitalisation among young people is much, much lower.
“I think that’s being reflected in the number of people being admitted to hospital isn’t very high although the number of people with Covid is creeping up.”
He said that the increase in cases “makes the case for a cautious reopening” as planned.
“I think it really makes the case for a cautious reopening and having a brake if needs be, where they can put a brake on the reopening,” he said.
“By doing this slowly it also allows us to see and to track the increase in rate and put a brake on it if necessary but also as each week is moving, the total number of people being vaccinated is increasing and that is reducing our overall risk,” he added.
According to the latest figures, one Local Electoral Area (LEA) in Cork has recorded a 14-day Covid-19 incidence rate per 100,000 population that is higher than the current national rate.
The data, for the 14-days up to May 3, shows the national 14-day incidence rate currently stands at 134.1.
The Midleton LEA, which includes the town of Youghal, reported a rate of 189.3 with 86 cases of Covid-19 recorded.
Last week, the rate stood at 118.8 with 54 cases. This was a significant increase when compared to previous figures.
The Cork City South West LEA had the second-highest incidence rate this week at 127.5 with 60 new cases in the area which was an increase of 40 cases when compared to last week.
The Cork City South Central LEA also saw an increase in cases this week, recording an incidence rate of 100.9 compared to 25.9 last week.
There were 39 new cases in the area according to the latest data.
The Fermoy LEA had an incidence rate of 74.2 this week with 27 cases compared to 25 cases and a rate of 68.7 last week.
The Cobh LEA had the second-highest incidence rate last week and this week recorded a rate of 73.3 with 25 cases of Covid-19 in what was a slight decrease in cases.
The Carrigaline LEA also a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases as 25 were recorded this week, increasing the incidence rate from 17.1 to 71.1.
The Cork City South East LEA reported a rate of 67.8 and 29 cases while the Cork City North West LEA had a rate of 67.2 which was the same as last week.
The Mallow LEA reported an incidence rate of 44.6 with 13 new cases while the Cork City North East LEA’s rate stood at 37.9.
The Bandon-Kinsale LEA recorded 13 cases this week and an incidence rate of 34.9 compared to 13.4 last week.
The Macroom LEA had eight new cases and a rate of 21.7.
The Skibbereen-West Cork LEA recorded five Covid-19 cases this week and an incidence rate of 16.5. The area had less than five cases last week.
The Kanturk LEA and the Bantry-West Cork LEA again recorded less than five cases.