Ireland is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases not seen in months, with most regions on the island reporting rising infection rates.
According to the latest official figures, Carndonagh in Co Donegal is the most Covid-infected part of the island.
Ireland's northernmost local electoral area reported 1,993 cases per 100,000 people over the most recent two-week period, a sharp increase from three weeks ago when the area had 643 cases per 100,000.
Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim has the next highest rate at 1,811 per 100,000, closely followed by the Drogheda Urban electoral area in Co Louth, with 1,725 cases per 100,000.
Neighbouring areas in counties Louth, Meath and Dublin have seen case rates surge over recent weeks, with Drogheda Rural (1,505), Ashbourne (1,434) and Balbriggan (1,384) all among the most infected areas of the country.
Co Waterford continues to see a high incidence of Covid despite also having the highest rate of vaccination.
Five of the six local electoral areas in the county have a 14-day infection rate of more than 1,000 cases per 100,000, meaning that in the last two weeks one person in 100 has tested positive.
Lismore has an incidence rate of 1,529 per 100,000, up from 1,222 last week. Other areas in Waterford with high rates include Waterford City South (1,406), Waterford City East (1,253), Dungarvan (1,132), and Portlaw-Kilmacthomas (1,086).
Most parts of Cork city also have rates over 1,000 – Cork City South Central (1,195) and Cork City North East (1,174) have the highest, while neighbouring Cobh (1,149) has seen its infection rate almost double since late October.
For the first time in several months, Covid cases are broadly higher in the Republic than in the North. Nonetheless, infection rates remain high in many postcodes in the North, including areas covering Castlederg in Co Tyrone (1,323), Craigavon in Co Armagh (1,262) and Omagh in Co Tyrone (1,209).
The figures are based on the number of new cases in the Republic’s 166 local electoral areas and the North's 80 postcode areas over the most recent two-week period.
The area with the lowest rate of infection on the island is Belmullet, Co Mayo, which recorded a 14-day incidence of 198 per 100,000, up from 95 last week.
Other places with relatively low virus levels are Portrush (308) and Bushmills (360) in Co Antrim and Ballybay-Clones in Co Monaghan (487).
Working from home
The fresh data comes as the State’s public health team advised the Government that people should work from home wherever possible amid the surging Covid cases.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met on Thursday afternoon, and Government sources expect Nphet members to push for a return to working from home across the board.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the HSE said action is needed from the public to alleviate pressure on the health service, as it emerged that 4,400 HSE staff were off work due to Covid-19.
“Our health system alone cannot get us out of this,” Paul Reid said on Thursday, adding that it was now up to the public to control the situation through collective individual actions.