Contact

No further large Covid-19 clusters identified in County Derry

Latest PHA data shows eleven clusters of more than five people across NI.

No further large clusters identified in County Derry

Coronavirus

There have been no further Covid-19 clusters of over five people identified in County Derry since the mid-July cluster in the north Derry area.

To date, that remains the only such cluster in the Causeway Coast and Glens area identified since contact tracing began on May 24, which is one of eleven identified across Northern Ireland.

A Public Health Agency (PHA) statement revealed that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (4) had the highest number of identified clusters, while Mid and East Antrim (3) is next highest.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council all have one identified cluster of over five people.

There have been no large clusters identified in the Derry City and Strabane or Mid Ulster districts, that cover the remainder of County Derry.

However, the PHA have also said they have identified 20 smaller clusters, of less than five people, across Northern Ireland, and said they would continue to publish data each Thursday.

A cluster is currently defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among individuals associated with a key setting, with illness onset dates within a 14 day period.

Key settings which have seen clusters to date since May include workplaces, retail or hospitality premises, domestic gatherings, and sporting settings.  

COVID-19 transmission risk is highest in a household setting, and it is to be anticipated that a significant number of linked cases within households will be identified by efficient contact tracing. It is for this reason that household-linked cases are not reported as clusters.

Since July, the average number of close contacts linked to cases has more than doubled. The PHA say the rise may be attributed to the gradual easing of lockdown measures, but may also be explained by relaxing of attitudes to social distancing.

Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Cases are occurring in communities across Northern Ireland.

"This is an important reminder that we must not become complacent – coronavirus remains in circulation, so each of us has a responsibility to take steps to help keep ourselves and those around us safe.

“Maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and get tested if you display any symptoms of coronavirus. You can also download the StopCOVID NI contact tracing app.

“This disease has the potential to make its presence felt in any community, as we have seen with clusters appearing across a number of council districts.

“Everyone should act on the basis that it might potentially be in your neighbourhood right now, rather than waiting for it to emerge in your local area or for rumours to circulate before taking steps to help protect yourself and others.

"That’s why following the public health advice remains vitally important. You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms, so taking these steps and exercising good hygiene practices will help prevent cases and reduce the number of clusters.

"Our analysis of clusters to date has shown that they have been associated with both workplaces and in the community, such as domestic gatherings and in hospitality and sporting settings.

“Clusters are managed through the contact tracing programme, and where we need to advise or inform the public of any increased risk to public health we will do so in a timely manner."

Dr Waldron added: “Speculation around current clusters of COVID-19 across Northern Ireland is not helpful.

“We will not be commenting on individual cases of COVID-19 or going into the detail of every incident that emerges, as this could lead to people being identified, create stigma and focus attention on individuals, families or groups, and therefore deter others with symptoms coming forward to be tested.”

Everyone with symptoms of coronavirus can book a free test. If anyone is concerned that they are experiencing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate and arrange a test as soon as possible. For further information on the virus, its symptoms and how to book a test, visit www.pha.site/coronavirus

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email editor@derrynews.net or editor@derrypost.com at any time.


Read more from Derry Now.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Derry News and the County Derry Post here for instant access to Derry's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Derry with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.