UCC professor: Covid incidence rates ‘totally unmanageable’

A meeting of the Regional Health Forum South heard yesterday that between 2,700 and 2,800 Covid-19 tests are being carried out daily. 
UCC professor: Covid incidence rates ‘totally unmanageable’

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare head of health, wellbeing, and strategy, Gabrielle O’Keeffe, yesterday told a meeting of the Regional Health Forum South that between 2,700 and 2,800 Covid-19 tests were being carried out every day during the week.

A CORK-BASED professor has said the potential for Ireland to find itself in a situation where it cannot extract itself is “very real” with the detection of a new variant, while the spread of Delta remains out of control.

Axa research chair of applied pathogen ecology at University College Cork Gerry Killeen said we are now in a situation “where our incidence rate is totally unmanageable and none of our systems can cope with it”.

Speaking to The Echo, Prof Killeen said: “The potential for us to find ourselves in a situation where we just can’t extract ourselves is very real."

He said there are actions that would make a difference, such as the vaccination of young children, booster vaccines, and the introduction of mask wearing in primary schools. He said actions to stop the spread of the virus are not impossible, but “really won’t come easy”.

Prof Killeen said: “The potential for us to find ourselves in a situation where we just can’t extract ourselves is very real."
Prof Killeen said: “The potential for us to find ourselves in a situation where we just can’t extract ourselves is very real."

“It’s not going to come passively and it certainly won’t come to us if we just put our head in the sand and hope for the best,” he added.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there will be “challenges” in the coming weeks, as efforts are stepped up to reduce the number of Covid case numbers.

Latest figures show 6,982 cases of the virus were reported in Cork in the 14 days to November 30.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare head of health, wellbeing, and strategy, Gabrielle O’Keeffe, yesterday told a meeting of the Regional Health Forum South that between 2,700 and 2,800 Covid-19 tests were being carried out every day during the week.

“There has been a level of frustration in terms of people trying to log on for the test because basically all of our slots are booked out so we’re working to schedule people as quickly as possible for their test,” she said.

"We are achieving the KPIs to get those people scheduled within the 24 hours where we can but it is just very challenging at the moment because of the very high level of demand,” she added. 

Speaking about the demand for Covid-19 PCR testing, Professor Killeen said: "Doesn't it say wonderful things about the people of Ireland that we keep going for the tests? I thought that everyone would have given up and that's why I’ve been so concerned from the start because I know you just can’t live like this forever and there does come a point where people give up.

“It’s amazing that the people of Ireland are still doing their duty and desperately looking for tests,” he said.

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