The rampant rise in Coronavirus numbers in Galway last month saw Covid-19 cases almost treble – meaning that October alone accounted for two thirds of the county’s total confirmed cases since March.
And as cases spiralled, so too did the economic misery as the number of Galwegians in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment soared by almost 3,000, a jump of 23% in just a week, reflecting the massive hardship inflicted by Level 5 lockdown closures.
New hospitalisations and ICU admissions continue to put pressure on local hospitals. UHG is not yet overwhelmed but nearing capacity, according to HSE figures, and Portiuncula is suffering overcrowding – on Wednesday morning there were ten patients on trolleys in the Ballinasloe Emergency Department waiting for a bed to become available, the INMO nursing union said.
A total of 1,521 people tested positive for the deadly disease in the month of October, representing about 66% of the running total of cases as of the end of the month (2,307).
But there are signs that the Level 3 restrictions introduced in Galway and nationwide, as of midnight October 6, are beginning to impact on numbers.
The incidence rate per 100,000 population in Galway fell to 283.3 as of Saturday, and fell further on Monday when it stood at 256.9 per 100,000 or 663 cases in the previous fortnight.
Though that’s still higher than the national average incidence rate (228.0), and the seventh worst out of 26 counties, it is a steep reduction in just two weeks. The previous fortnightly incidence rates in Galway stood at 385.6 and 313.9.
See full Covid coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at email@example.com
Gardaí seek help in locating missing man
Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.
He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.
Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.
Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.
Hospitals cope with overcrowding and staff shortages as Covid crisis peaks
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to skyrocket in Galway, as virus-related frontline healthcare staff shortages persist and now overcrowding emerges as a new threat.
Galway experienced four days of record-breaking positive case notifications in the past week, as hospitalisations grew exponentially and pressure was heaped on the critical care units at University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Portiuncula.
Hospital management said it was unsure whether community transmission had peaked locally yet – and they expect hospitals to be under ‘significant pressure’ from Covid admissions well into February.
Nurses have highlighted how overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the county’s two main public hospitals has returned – some 112 patients were stuck on trolleys awaiting admission to UHG and Ballinasloe on five mornings in the past week. Meanwhile, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed that the new UK variant of Covid is present in Galway, but authorities believe it is.
The latest data shows there has been no let-up in new cases notifications in Galway – 604 confirmed cases were notified for Monday, the highest in Ireland and Galway’s worst ever day by a long shot.
It was a frightening figure but it was not for one day and was part of clearing the backlog of cases over Christmas and New Year, the HSE said.
That pushed Galway’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 to 1033.9 more than double what it was a week ago and eight times what it was a fortnight ago. Some 2,668 new Galway cases were notified in the fortnight to midnight Tuesday.
Read the full story and comprehensive coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie