The Department of Public Health Mid-West has warned that the current high incidence of Covid infection indicates they are seeing at least 2,300 new cases a day across Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

They have appealed to the public to be extra cautious about taking part in social activity due to the increasing incidence of the virus across the region.

Preliminary analysis of their figures indicate the high daily rate of over 2,000 cases, but they also say it is probable the real infection rate is higher due to the unprecedented levels of transmission across the three counties and nationwide.

In recent weeks, they were notified of an outbreak of more than 80 people ranging in age from their early 20's to late 30's contracting the virus in a single community in the Mid-West. Transmission occurred over a three-week period and involved multiple sources of exposure through social and household contact, and in both education workplace settings.

They believe outbreaks of this scale have occurred more frequently since the Christmas season, through multi-household clusters, large family and social gatherings, congregated settings and accommodation, with onward transmission occurring across all settings in the community at a fast rate.

The department is actively managing and monitoring Covid-19 in more than 70 settings across the region, including nursing homes, long-term care facilities, residential care facilities, and vulnerable groups in the population.Due to the current high Covid-19 numbers, these are some of the key settings the department is prioritising in line with national priorities.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: "The past few weeks have been challenging for many of us, especially during and after the Christmas period where some plans had to be cancelled often at short notice due to significant community spread of Covid-19.

Dr Mai Mannix said the increase is due to 'Christmas celebrations and continued social activity'

"Like last January, we are now seeing an exponential rise in disease due to widespread onward transmission after Christmas celebrations and continued social activity. This may persist for some time, which is why we urge people to be extra cautious of any social contact."

Dr Mannix also said: "Omicron is a highly-transmissible variant that can cause serious illness. I note that research does suggest that it may be less severe than the previously dominant Delta variant.

"It is still impacting significantly on healthcare capacity. However, it is important to appreciate that while some people can have a mild illness, Covid-19 itself is not a mild disease and can still cause severe complications, especially for those who are unvaccinated and at higher risk.

"Our priority over the coming weeks as a community needs to be slowing the transmission as much as possible by limiting contacts and availing of the vaccination if you are eligible for it."