One in every 18 people in Belmullet had Covid-19 over the past fortnight, new figures show.
The remote peninsula in Co Mayo is the area worst affected by coronavirus in Ireland, with an infection rate of 5,556 cases per 100,000 in the period covering January 5th to 18th. This has decreased slightly from last week when the area had a rate of 6,031.
The latest Covid-19 data from local electoral areas in the Republic and postcode areas in the North show how the disease is spreading in different communities.
Both sets of statistics use the incidence rate of infection per 100,000 population, giving a better understanding of an outbreak than straight case numbers.
The next worst-affected area on the island was Enniscorthy in Co Wexford, with an incidence rate of 3,291.
In Northern Ireland the BT35 postcode had the highest rate of new infections – 1,031 people tested positive for the disease over the two-week period from January 4th to 17th.
That amounted to a rate of 2,151 cases per 100,000 in an area covering parts of Newry and Crossmaglen.
Connemara North in Co Galway was the area with the lowest infection rate in the Republic, reporting 407 cases per 100,000.
The BT1 postcode area in Belfast recorded only one case during the 14-day period.
Healthcare under pressure
The continuing high caseload is putting pressure on health services across the island.
The situation in Irish hospitals is at the “highest level of concern” since the pandemic began, the HSE chief said on Thursday.
Paul Reid said the healthcare system remained on extremely high alert with the number of people in hospital with the virus up 10 per cent in a seven-day period.
His comments come as a record 214 people with Covid-19 were being treated in intensive care units.
HSE chief: 43% of Covid-19 hospital admissions in…
In total, there were a total of 1,949 coronavirus patients in the State’s hospitals on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be extended to March 5th.
Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann proposed the step to help drive down case numbers.
Ministerial colleagues at the Executive in Belfast agreed the move and there are suggestions the curbs could ultimately continue until Easter.