The Department of Public Health Mid-West has expressed concern at the rate of growth in Covid-19 cases in the region.

Up to yesterday, the mid-west region recorded 16,688 cases so far this year. More than 10,000 (10,034) of those were in Limerick, 4,442 in Clare and 2,212 in North Tipperary.

In a statement, the Department of Public Health Mid-West said since the arrival of the strain of the virus first identified in the UK there has been a concerning pattern of spread where single cases are leading to household outbreaks, as well as sections of housing estates and groups of apartments in the same building where outbreaks have spread due to social mixing.

It said, however, that the "wearing of masks and distancing measures within households has helped prevent the spread of infection".

Director of Public Health Mid-West Dr Mai Mannix said: "Household transmission is becoming a significant factor Covid-19 infection in the Mid-West region.

"A large number of new clusters are arising out of regular household visits, across all age groups.

"If you or a member of your household is showing mild symptoms, please contact your GP to consider booking a test. By getting swabbed, you could save a life."

The statement said that while the incidence rate in the area had fallen, there were still serious outbreaks in long-term care facilities and workplaces.

It said the new variant seemed to be more transmissible with higher numbers of infections from each new case.

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