THE IMPACT of the Omicron variant appears to be starting to show locally, with Fermanagh Covid cases jumping significantly this week.
However, the local community has seemingly been heeding the warnings and working to counter the surge by getting their booster jabs.
With the steady rise in infection and fears of a reintroduction of restrictions in the weeks to come, as well as changes to self-isolation rules and urgent appeals from health chiefs, hundreds of local people queued at the walk-in vaccine centre at the Lakeland Forum when it reopened on Sunday and Monday this week.
It is understood almost 1,000 people attended the two extra openings, which had been scheduled by the Western Trust due to an increase demand after the booster programme was expanded to everyone over 18. The centre, which had already been opened for the first two weeks in December, had been due to close last Tuesday, but with the programme now expanded it will be returning again to the Forum on December 29.
Thousands more have been getting their boosters at local pharmacies and at their GP surgeries, who have been on a drive over the past week to getting as many jabs in arms as possible.
The demand for boosters comes as, like everywhere in the North, local Covid cases jumped this week, with 843 cases in the Fermanagh and Omagh area in the seven days leading up to Monday this week, up from 636 last week.
In Fermanagh post code areas, there were 508 cases, up from 383 last week, with every area seeing a rise in infection.
In BT74, covering Enniskillen, there were 119 cases, up slightly from 112 cases last week.
In BT92, covering Lisnaskea and Derrylin areas, there were 165 cases, more than double the 78 cases last week.
In BT93, covering Derrygonnelly, Belleek and Kesh areas, there were 104 cases, up from 82 last week.
In BT94, covering Ballinamallard, Tempo and Irvinestown areas, there were 120 cases, up from 111 cases last week.
So far, the rise in infection has not resulted in a rise in Covid hospital admissions, with a total of 17 Covid patients in the SWAH at the time of going to print yesterday (Tuesday), down from the mid-20s seen just last month. Two of these patients were being treated in the hospital’s ICU, however.
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