A midland county has the country's worst rate of new COVID-19 cases

For the second successive day, Offaly has recorded the worst 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per population.

The county had 40 new cases during Friday and this evening’s figures show there were 25 more confirmed cases in Offaly during Saturday.

It means Offaly now tops the national table as the area with the highest rate of new cases per population over the past fortnight.

For a number of weeks, Monaghan had been the worst-hit county, but Offaly has now taken its place showing a rate of 431 per 100,000 between February 7 to February 20.

It’s the only county with a rate of over 400. Dublin has the second highest rate per population of 343.5, followed by Galway 330.9 and Monaghan 329.1.

There were 14 new cases in Westmeath during Saturday and none in Roscommon.

Westmeath had been among the bottom three or four counties for new COVID-19 cases throughout January and much of February.

However, it has begun to worsen somewhat in comparison to other counties in the last week or so and is now 15th, with a 14-day rate of 238.8 per 100,000.

Roscommon is 23rd with a rate of 105.4 per 100,000

Meanwhile, tonight, the Department of Health reported one additional death related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland to 4,136.

As of midnight, Saturday, 679 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported. There is now a total of 215,057 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

Of the 679 cases notified, 71% are under 45 years of age and the median age is 32 years old

As of 8am today, 744 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 148 were in ICU. 45 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of February 18, 326,475 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland:

•205,955 people have received their first dose

•120,520 people have received their second dose

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said; “While the level of disease in our communities remains very high, we are still making progress.

“We have reported less than 1,000 cases each day this week and our 7-day average has fallen from 1,022 two weeks ago, to 862 last week, to 792 today. The number of people in hospital has fallen from over 1,200 two weeks ago, to 744 today.

“Do not underestimate the power of your actions as we seek to protect the gains we have made and further reduce transmission. This week, please continue to work from home unless essential and do not visit other households unless for essential reasons or as part of a support bubble.”

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