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NPHET Dr warns “The virus doesn’t discriminate whether it was a communion party or house party”

It's as social gatherings are linked to a number of cases in one Donegal area

The National Public Health Emergency team says the population has let it’s guard down.

Donegal will become the second county to enter level three restrictions from midnight tonight.

NPHET has warned that everyone needs to reduce their contacts, particularly those living in Waterford, Louth, Cork, Kildare, Wicklow and Galway.

Louth and Waterford avoided moving to level three despite being close to or above 100 cases per 100,000.

Last evening 324 new cases were announced with Carlow & Kilkenny not specifically mentioned so if there are any extra positive tests locally they’re in single figures. But 167 were in Dublin & 42 in Donegal.

Member of NPHET Dr Mary Favier says the surge of cases in Donegal can be traced back to gatherings such as communions. She adds “You can understand in a way why this happened in a sense that people see these as very special events in a child or a family’s life and they make exceptions for them, they justify it to themselves ‘well it’s only the neighbours from across the road’ and ‘it’s only the aunties’ and unfortunately the virus doesn’t discriminate whether it was a communion party or house party”.

The rate in Lifford and Stranorlar over 14-days is 336 cases per 100,000 of the population.

Dr Martin Coyne, a GP in Lifford says “Unfortunately it does seem to be social gatherings, birthday parties, leaving cert result parties, communions, unfortunately a wake where people have been gathering together & probably not respecting social distancing advice, and unfortunately it’s got into our community & it’s spreading”.

He’s had 54 patients test positive for the virus in the past two weeks alone and adds “we have quite a few who are quite miserably sick, small numbers, less than ten, who are horribly flu-like, they’re at home, in one case we’ve a family of four people all of whom are very sick, thankfully none have had to go to hospital and that includes seven patients over the age of 60, thankfully nobody terribly sick

Dr Ronan Glynn has issued a warning to people to limit their social contacts if they want to avoid further restrictions.

He says nobody can become complacent noting “I do not want to be back here next week or the week after having had to make recommendations with NPHET in relation to other counties, there are opportunities for people all across the country now to act and to prevent that from happening and so really we’re asking people to take those opportunities, cut your contacts by half, only meet the people you have to meet, work from home if you can work from home, cut the amount of travel that you’re doing”.