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02nd June 2021

Fears of further COVID spread, following attack on HSE computer systems

The Department of Public Health in the Midlands have identified a pattern of linked COVID-19 cases. There is concern that members of the public who are notified by the HSE of close contact with an infected person may not take these communications seriously, believing them to be hoax messages caused by the recent cyberattack on the HSE’s Computer Systems (Irish Times, 26.05.2021).

The Department of Public Health have been examining the findings of a recent case study, where an index case (an infected shop worker) led to the infection of nine more people, including shop customers and family members. Further transmission ultimately led to a total of 55 people becoming infected (including three at a children’s crèche).

Doctors studying the pattern of spread identified in this case study found that the virus affected seven generations. They warn that similar patterns could be reproduced at any time in the coming weeks.

Dr. Una Fallon, Director of Public Health in the HSE Midlands area is concerned that increased social interaction could lead to further spread of the virus, now that restrictions are lifting.

Dr. Fallon cautions against complacency and has asked the public to take seriously any notifications received from the HSE.

Small businesses reopening for the first time this year should be prepared to share contacts lists with Public Health personnel, as the authorities actively strive to maintain vigilance.

Students are being urged not to participate in study groups, attend end-of-year parties or pose for collective photographs.

While life is becoming a little more “normal”, with non-essential retail open again, we must all be aware that COVD-19 has not gone away and the control measures: wearing of masks, frequent handwashing/sanitising and social distancing must be maintained if we are to keep further transmission to a minimum.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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