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Waterford GP says high Covid incidence rate not cause for "undue concern"

A Waterford GP has appealed for the public to continue to exercise caution and good practise regarding Covid, on foot of new figures showing Waterford currently has the highest 7-day incidence rate in the country.

Niall McNamara of The Keogh Practise, says he wouldn't be "unduly concerned" about the incidence rate situation on the basis of the high vaccination levels in the community.

However, he told Deise Today this morning (Tuesday) that the upward trend of the virus which began in Waterford two or three weeks ago had certainly "picked up pace" in the last 10 days or so - and people shouldn't become complacent.

"The vaccine is very effective in terms of preventing people getting ill, being hospitalised and dying from Covid," he said.

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"What it's not as effective at is stopping people from getting Covid," he said, adding that the the most recent evidence suggests the vaccines lower the contracting risk to about 40-50%, rather than the 80%-90% originally thought.

While Waterford had the highest 7-day incidence rate currently, the Waterford doctor said this is something we're going to see this from time to time.

"This will happen," he said. "It will be another county in a few weeks; I don't think we need to be unduly worried".

Nationally, it has emerged about 100,000 Covid tests were done over the past week, withย  notable spike in the past five days.

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There were 11 per cent more tests on Saturday than the previous Saturday with high demand in Waterford.

The county's current 7 day incidence rate is at 351 per 100,00 population and a five day moving average of 58 cases.

University Hospital Waterford has 14 patients on site with the virus - down 2 on the previous 24 hours. None are in ICU.

Niall McNamara said at this stage, the public are "well versed" in terms of face coverings, good respiratory etiquette etc.

However, he said what people needed to be particularly vigilant about was procedure the follow if they have symptoms.

"You need to stay out of school if it's kids, stay out work for adults; isolate away, get tested, wait 48 hours - even if you test negative - until symptoms abate."

In terms of Long Covid in particular, he said some 10% of people who test positive for Covid have symptoms that last up to 8 weeks and it's only a much, much smaller percentage again that ends up with Long Covid.

The vast majority of those testing positive, he said, end up recovering from Covid in a very short space of time.

Meanwhile, regarding the hospital figures which suggest 30% of those currently hospitalised with the virus are fully vaccinated, Niall McNamara said there is always people who are "non responsive" to vaccines.

"It's a phenomenon we've known about for years," he told Damien Tiernan. "We've seen it in the past too with healthcare workers who've been vaccinated and contracted Hepatitis B. Some people are just non responders."

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