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Outbreak of Covid-19 in over 200 Galway city households mainly linked to young adults

Over 50% of cases are linked to multiple household clusters.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE HSE HAS seen a significant outbreak of Covid-19 among young adults in Galway city over the past three weeks, with over 200 households affected. 

HSE West director of public health Dr Breda Smyth said there’s been a fourfold increase in the number of cases in the student population as 441 cases have been linked to this outbreak.

Over 50% of cases are linked to multiple household clusters while the remaining cases are linked to single household clusters and individual cases.

Speaking to the News at One, Dr Smyth said that 224 households have been affected by the outbreak, “which is very significant”.

“In addition, the impact of these types of outbreaks is onward transmission,” said Dr Smyth. 

The HSE linked the recent outbreak to other areas including the hospitality sector, the retail sector to disability services and also to other parts of the country.

“Any sort of household mixing and social congregation is the perfect breeding ground for transmission of this virus, and in particular this variant.

“We know that the new variant b117 [the UK variant] has increased transmissibility by over 70%,” she said, noting that rates in household contacts have increased from around 20% to almost 33% as a result.

Commenting on the spread among the hospitality sector, in which many students and young people have part-time jobs, Dr Smyth said it was really important that if a young person is identified as a close contact or if there is a case in their social circle that they come forward for testing and restrict their movements.

Dr Smyth said GMIT and NUIG have collaborated with the HSE since the start of the academic year to ensure that all the messages are being communicated through different avenues, including students forums. 

Three people were arrested and more than 50 people were fined after gardaí responded to a public order incident near the University of Limericks campus last night. 

UL warned that it would take disciplinary action against any of its students who were found to have breached public health rules.

The Irish Universities Association also appealed to students across the country to abide by public health guidelines and to avoid congregating in large groups.

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“The small minority who flout the rules will, not only risk the lives and health of other people, but also prolong the lockdown for everyone.”

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Adam Daly

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