A report by the Department of Public Health in the midwest has outlined how one person who did not restrict his movements after returning from abroad led to 56 individuals in ten households and a sports team contracting Covid-19.

The details of the case are contained in a report on how the pandemic was managed up to August by Dr Mai Mannix, who is director of public health in the region.

It shows how Covid-19 can spread so quickly and easily among households and friends in the community.

The index case had mild symptoms, but no temperature and went out to socialise with friends. He later tested positive and three of his friends also subsequently tested positive.

Another contact went to a party with friends a couple of hours after having a test, which turned out to be positive, and she ended up infecting a number of other people.

The index case had an extended family who visited each other regularly and some members also tested positive.

A family member, who had no symptoms, played a match with his local team and a number of team-mates were infected.

Those team members then went on to infect a number of others.

The report said in total 56 people were infected from the index case, affecting up to ten households and a sports team.

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The report says they continue to see a steady stream of cases mostly linked now to close contacts with confirmed cases and community transmission, as opposed to travel-related infection and transmission in healthcare settings in the earlier days of the pandemic.

There have been 3,312 cases of Covid-19 infection in the three counties, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

Up to August, almost a fifth (19%) were hospitalised, higher than the national average at 12%, but less (6%) were admitted to ICU, compared to 13% nationally.

The report said the management of the pandemic put considerable stress on public health staff throughout the region, who experienced an unprecedented volume of work, where the service increased to a seven-day week with extended working days.

They dealt with thousands of calls from concerned members of the public and from healthcare professionals.

Redeployed staff helped with this in the early months of the pandemic, but most of these staff have now returned to their substantive posts.

Dr Mannix said it has long been acknowledged that public health departments have been under-staffed for some time and this pandemic highlighted the urgent requirement for adequate and consistent staffing across all grades.

She said the recent announcement and approval to recruit staff to the department of public health is most welcome.

Dr Mannix also said the pandemic also highlighted the significant under-investment in an appropriate national IT case and outbreak management system for public health.

The use of multiple ICT systems to capture case and outbreak data creates an undue administrative burden within the department.