Buncrana in Co Donegal has the highest infection rate on the island, with one in 93 people testing positive over the latest two-week period – 1,073 cases per 100,000 people.
An additional walk-in test centre was opened in Buncrana by the HSE last week.
Other areas in Co Donegal with high incidence include Carndonagh (849 per 100,000) and Letterkenny (346).
The next worst-affected area is neighbouring Derry City, with the BT48 postcode area reporting 1,004 cases per 100,000.
Rising Covid infections in Derry has put pressure on hospital services. Patients at the Altnagelvin and Waterside hospitals in the city are now only allowed one visitor, for a maximum time of one hour, once a week.
Dr Brendan Lavery, an emergency department consultant with the Western Health and Social Care Trust, told the BBC it would be “very difficult” to continue to provide full elective care in the Derry and Strabane district due to the rising Covid caseload.
Other areas where coronavirus is spreading more widely include Castlewellan, Co Down, (923), Newcastle, Co Down (855), Strabane, Co Tyrone (765), Shankill Road, Belfast (715), Newry, Co Down (623), Ballycastle, Co Antrim (571), Limavady, Co Derry (536) and Limerick City North (510).
Ongar in west Dublin has the highest infection rate in the capital, with 427 cases per 100,000 people. Rush-Lusk has the lowest rate in Co Dublin at 27 per 100,000.
Several areas reported fewer than five confirmed Covid cases in the latest 14-day period.
These include Kanturk, Co Cork, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, Muinebeag, Co Carlow, and Caledon, Fivemiletown and Augher, all in Co Tyrone.
Delta variant accelerates
The spread of the Delta variant is accelerating “much quicker” than expected, the HSE said on Thursday, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar urged unvaccinated people to treat the pandemic “as seriously as you did at any point”.
With daily case numbers nearing 1,000 on Thursday, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) indicated that infections will continue to grow exponentially unless public behaviour changes.
The number of patients in hospital with the disease has increased by almost a third in the past week, with 79 people currently on wards with the virus – 57 per cent higher than last Friday.
Ban on intercounty travel now needed to contain Co…
The North’s Health Minister has also expressed concern following a spike in Covid cases.
Some 1,083 cases were notified by the region’s Department of Health on Thursday, up from 636 on Wednesday.
This is the first time the daily case number in the North has been over 1,000 since the peak of the third wave of the pandemic in mid-January.
Robin Swann said the increase in cases is in the younger age groups, and urged all to take up the coronavirus vaccine.