• The Health Minister Simon Harris is to meet representatives of Nursing Homes later today as concerns intensify about the number of cluster cases of Covid-19 in nursing homes.

    There are 17 cluster of cases in nursing home now across the country.

    The latest figures show nationally 2,615 confirmed cases of Covid 19 with 46 deaths.

    Health officials say we still haven't hit a peak in cases.

    The HSE says it's planning for the peak to come around April 10th to 14th.

    26 people in county Mayo have now been diagnosed with Covid-19, 68 in Galway, 10 in Roscommon and 12 in Sligo.

  • Minister for Health Simon Harris has warned that allowing complacency to set in, in efforts to combat Covid-19, could be disastrous and potentially fatal.

    In a video message on Twitter, the Minister says the progress made by the Irish people could be undone.

    Testing of staff and residents in nursing home will continue this week as the focus remains on extinguishing and preventing outbreaks in long term residential care.

    There are encouraging signs that the situation in Ireland is stabilising.

    Hospital admissions fell for the third day in a row yesterday and ICU admissions remain relatively stable.

    However, latest figures show 610 people have now died in the Republic from Covid 19, while there are more than 15 thousand confirmed cases.
    39 people with the virus died yesterday, 2 of those deaths were in the west.

    The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Mayo now stands at 312, in Galway there are 283 cases, and 76 confirmed cases in both Sligo and Roscommon.

    As of 8pm on Saturday evening last there were 27 patients with confirmed Covid 19 at Mayo University Hospital with a further 18 patients with suspected cases of the virus.


  • There are 881 patients with Covid-19 in acute hospitals nationally, as well as 448 suspected cases.

    A Health Service Executive acute hospitals operational report, secured by RTE,  shows that the hospitals with the largest number of confirmed cases are in Dublin.

    Of the 448 suspected Covid-19 cases, there are 32 in Galway University Hospital and 30 in  Mayo University Hospital.

    These 448 patients - 'suspected cases' - were awaiting swab test results up to yesterday.

  • There are 34 confirmed cases of Covid-19 being treated at present at Mayo University Hospital,and further 13 suspected cases are being treated at the facility

    The Castlebar hospital remains the seventh highest nationally for hospitalised cases of the virus.

    Two confirmed cases and one suspected case are in critical care.

    There are seven vacant critical beds at MUH toady and 35 vacant general beds. These figures were released by the HSE at 8pm last night.

    The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mayo jumped by 40 over 24 hours yesterday. Mayo remains the Connaught county with the highest incidents of confirmed cases, standing at 435 today, followed by Galway with 332 , Roscommon 116 and 104 cases in Sligo.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team are expected to announce the latest figures in the Republic again, later this evening

  • The country recorded its highest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths yesterday, with 43 more patients dying. 4 of those deaths were in the west of the country

    It brings the death toll to 486, while there are now over 13,200 confirmed cases.

    In Mayo the number of confirmed cases now stand at 249, in Galway its 260, in Sligo 66, Roscommon 57

    However, the encouraging development is that new modelling suggests Covid-19 has reached a plateau here, and the virus has been suppressed.

    However, there's a warning relaxing restrictions on travel and work after May 5th could see the infection begin to grow again.

    The HSE will lay out its plans today on the measures it is taking to counter the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes and long-stay residential settings.

    More than 300 of the 486 deaths from Covid-19 in this country so far, have occurred in such community settings.

    Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said all efforts now need to be on focused on extinguishing the disease in these settings. 

    There have been outbreaks in 254 community settings including clusters in 163 nursing homes.

    According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, a Covid-19 cluster is two or more cases in a setting within a 72-hour period.

  • A leading cancer doctor says protecting the sick and infirm from covid-19 should be enough reason to cancel the St Patrick's Day Parade.


    Professor John Crown says evidence from China shows cancer patients and survivors have the highest rates of critical illness if infected.


    Four people were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus on the island yesterday -- three in the North and one in the Republic.


    He says it's not good enough for authorities to say a bout of covid-19 is a mild illness for most.

  • A Castlebar travel agent is calling for clarification from Government in relation to travel restrictions during Covid-19.

    It comes as Ireland West Airport Knock has reopened today, after a 3-month closure due to the pandemic.

    However, while Ryanair has resumed a number of flights today from both Knock and Shannon Airports, passengers must still quarantine for 14 days on arrival into Ireland.

    The State's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is advising against overseas holidays this Summer, amid fears it could lead to additional cases of Covid-19 being imported into this country.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs is also advising against all non-essential overseas travel.

    But Dr Jack Lambert, a professor of medicine at the Mater Hospital in Dublin said today that he believes it is safe for people to go on holidays, provided they take appropriate precautions, such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene.

    At present, there is a legal requirement for passengers arriving into the country to fill in a form saying where they intend to self-isolate for two weeks remains in place.

    But the Government has said it is considering whether to introduce so-called "air bridges" between Ireland and other countries where the incidence of Covid-19 is low.

    The move would mean those arriving into Ireland from those countries would no longer be expected to self-isolate, but such an announcement has not yet been made.

    Travel agents are now calling on the Government for clarity on the current Covid-19 travel restrictions

    Emma Kilkelly, from Kilkelly Travel in Castlebar told Midwest News that mixed messages have been emerging in recent weeks, and clear instructions are now needed from Government for customers and for the travel industry.....

  • The number of people with confirmed cases of Covid 19, who have died at Mayo University Hospital and other HSE facilities across county Mayo since the start of the pandemic are figures sought for many weeks now by the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne from the HSE West management.

    However, to date he has been unable to get these details.

    He will raise the question again this afternoon at the HSE West Forum meeting in Merlin Park Galway. The meeting is being held virtually due to Covid 19 restrictions.

    In addition the Cathaoirleach has submitted a written question to the Forum asking for details on the numbers of tests conducted, over the past month, for Covid 19 at Mayo University Hospital and other test centres in the county and their results.

    The independent councillor spoke to Midwest News  this lunchtime about why he is pursuing the matter and is also calling on the HSE to test anyone who wants a Covid 19 test, even if they are not displaying symptoms of the virus, in an effort to seriously eradicate the virus in the county and country.


  • Funeral services are being limited to no more than ten people.

    The Government wants to ensure mourners can bury their loved ones with respect, while still ensuring they are protected from COVID-19.

    The measure applies to all deaths - not just those as a result of Covid-19.

    Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that Funeral Masses will continue to be celebrated with immediate family members only, across all 6 western dioceses, and churches across the region will remain open during the pandemic.

    In three dioceses in other areas of the country,  funeral Masses have been discontinued under the present Covid-19 restrictions and churches have been closed.

    However, the  Bishop of Killala Dr John Fleming told Midwest News today that funeral Masses will be available in the Archdiocese of Tuam, and the dioceses of Galway, Elphin, Killala, Achonry and Clonfert, (the 6 western dioceses).

    Bishop Fleming said that baptism will be offered if there is a risk to a child’s mortality, and that weddings can be celebrated with just the couple and two witnesses attending.

  • Cancelling major St Patrick's Day Parades across the country would be a proportionate measure to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus.

    That's the view of Fianna Fáil Deputy for Galway West Eamon O'Cuiv, who took to twitter last night to air his concerns.

    The Fianna Fáil TD says it seems strange that the Dublin parade and other majors parades would go ahead in the current covid19 climate.

    The Galway West TD doesn't think it gives the right message as to the actions and sacrifices the public must take to limit transmission.

    Deputy O'Cuiv recalled that St Patrick's Day parade was cancelled in 2001 due to Foot and Mouth disease outbreak and he believes the current situation warrants similar action.

    He concluded saying that given the drastic actions being taken by other nations to limit and delay the spread of Coronavirus, cancelling major parades would, in his view, be proportionate and welcome.

  • The recruitment embargo on nurses and midwives has been lifted.

    INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha says the HSE has confirmed the move, as all sides work to cope with the coronovirus outbreak.

    She says the lifting of the ban was vital, to protect frontline health workers and prevent the virus spreading in the community.

  • According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and published in today’s Irish Independent, its claimed that a cancer patient suffering the side effects of chemotherapy was placed in a Covid-19 ward at Mayo University Hospital.

    In details of the complaint, lodged by a relative of the patient, it is claimed that the man, who is an oncology patient, arrived at the ED OF Mayo University Hospital on May 1st last,  and was admitted to a Covid-19 ward where there were five Covid-19 patients.

    He had according to the complaint "arrived at the hospital as a very vulnerable patient with a very serious underlying illness and a compromised immune system". He was not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms”.

    The complainant alleges that the man was moved into an isolation ward later that same evening. However, by that time he had already been according to the complaint been  "exposed to the coronavirus, unprotected, for an extended period of time".

    On May 4, when the complaint was made, the man was in self-isolation back at his own home. His daughter, who accompanied him to the hospital and entered the Covid-19 ward, was also self-isolating.

    It is claimed that both the cancer patient and his daughter were not given any protective equipment for hours. Later they were given what they term "basic masks".

    The complaint states that the man's "safety, health and life is now at serious risk" due to a failure by the hospital to implement "the most basic safety protocols".

    The complaint was sent to Mayo University Hospital (MUH) manager Catherine Donohoe as well as to the Department of Health, for the attention of chief medical officer Tony Holohan.

    Correspondence shows that on May 5, Declan Whelan, from the Cancer Policy Unit in the Department of Health, asked the hospital for an update on the complaint as a "matter of urgency".

    Concerns about segregation procedures at the hospital have been raised by local councillors and TDs in the Mayo area.

    Last month, then health minister Simon Harris requested a report from HSE chief executive Paul Reid on the Covid-19 measures taken at MUH from the outset of the pandemic. That report, if completed, has not yet been published.

    The details of the cancer patient complaint were outlined in a Freedom of Information request submitted by Aontú. Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has  called for an update on the progress of the report commissioned by Mr Harris.

    The Saolta Hospitals Group, in reponse to questions about the details of the complaint said it cannot comment on individual cases

  • The JP McManus Pro-Am is being postponed until next year. 

    The golf tournament was due to take place this July at Adare Manor in Co. Limerick. 

    It's now been deferred until July 5th and 6th next year at the same venue.



  • Midwest Radio has announced this evening that three masses each week will be broadcast on the station for the foreseeable future.

    Management at the station said they were reacting to a huge number of requests from listeners to increase religious broadcasts in the wake of the corona virus epidemic. 

    As well as the weekly Sunday morning broadcast of Mass Midwest Radio will also broadcast a 10 o’clock morning mass each Wednesday and Friday commencing this Friday morning.

    Station Manager Tommy Marren said this evening that at a time when the general public were feeling anxious and vulnerable it was timely for the station to introduce a number of masses as part of the weekday schedule.


    The masses on Wednesday and Friday morning will be broadcast live from St. Patrick’s Chuch, Ballyhaunis and the celebrant will be Fr. Stephen Farragher.

  • A new drive-through test facility for coronavirus has opened today in Castlerea.

    The HSE has confirmed to Midwest News that, in line with their plans to increase Covid-19 testing, a new facility has opened today at the Castlerea Fire Station, which has been closed as a fire station for the past three years.

    The HSE says this new drive-through test facility will replace the current test centre at The Lodge at Roscommon University Hospital.

    The test centre at Castlerea Fire Station is the third drive-through test centre in the region, along with McHale Park in Castlebar and Galway Airport.



  • The spread of Covid-19 would appear to have reduced significantly across the West of Ireland, with no new cases reported over the past 24 hours.

    Mayo has not had any new confirmed cases for the past 11 days, and the number remains at 570.

    In Galway, there are 483 confirmed cases, with 338 in Roscommon, 128 in Sligo and 84 in Leitrim.

    In its daily briefing, the Department of Health confirmed yesterday evening that a further 5 people had died of the virus, while 19 cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours bringing the country's total to 25,231.

    Almost half of the confirmed cases are in Co Dublin.

    People in Dublin and Sligo are expected to be the first in the country to give blood samples as part of a new coronavirus antibody study.

    It's expected to take place this month, as health officials try to measure the percentage of the population that's been infected with the virus.

    According to the Irish Independent, Dublin was chosen because it's suffered the highest number of infections in the country, while Sligo has recorded just 128 cases.

  • Yesterday marked the first time no new virus-related deaths were recorded since March 21st, and it came on the back of a recent downward trend.

    Dr Tony Holohan has described the latest Covid-19 figures as a "positive development," but warned against complacency.

    A full return to economic activity is important, but so too is sticking to the plan and doing it on a phased basis, according to the chief medical officer. He says it's inevitable, however that we'll see an increase in cases and that has to be carefully managed.

    76 of the 307 new cases announced since last Thursday occurred in residential care facilities.

    Deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn says it shows there's still a substantial number of transmissions in other settings, including in the community.

    The number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Mayo remained stable over the 24 hour period, it now stands at 568, Galway cases were up 3, to 461, Roscommon, up 1, to 319, and Sligo 129, and Leitrim 83.

    Nursing Homes Ireland is expected to say the failure of the so-called surge to materialise was among the reasons patients were discharged to homes from hospital without testing for Covid-19.

    The group's chief executive, Tadhg Daly, is among those who will face a grilling from the Covid-19 Committee today in the wake of the devastating impact of the virus on the sector.

    Almost half of all deaths from the virus have occurred in care settings and there have been 264 clusters in nursing homes.

  • A Sligo TD has welcomed the assistance of Department officials in organising the return of a number of Irish doctors from Australia.


    The group of 81 Irish doctors have left their jobs in Australia to return home to work in the Irish health service during the Covid-19 crisis, but flights they had booked were subsequently cancelled and they were unable to find a way to travel home.


    Fianna Fail's Transport spokesman Sligo TD Marc McSharry says his niece is one of the doctors trying to return home, and thanks to the assistance of officials in the Departments of Transport and Foreign Affairs, the doctors will be flying from Australia to London tomorrow- at their own expense.

    On their return back to Ireland, he says they will enter a period of self-isolation before joining the health service in the battle against coronavirus.....


  • The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish citizens not to travel to the Italian region of Lombardy or 14 other provinces placed in lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.


    It is also cautioning against non-essential travel to the regions of Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Piedmont, and Le Marche.


    Around 16 million Italians have been quarantined under drastic government measures set out shortly after midnight last night.


    The total number of cases in the country is now 5,883 while 233 have died there since the outbreak began.


    Italy based Journalist Paddy Agnew says he expects people will take the quarantine laws seriously:

  • The wearing of face masks by the general public is not deemed effective in the control of Covid-19, nor is the wearing of disposable gloves when shopping. That’s according to Public Health Specialist Registrar with the HSE West, Dr Ciara Kelly.

    She told Midwest News today that while all these things are continuously under review both internationally and nationally – the most up to date opinion by the World Health Organisation and the HSE is that neither are as effective, as the frequent washing of hands, social distancing and good coughing and sneezing etiquette.

    Wearing a scarf around your mouth is also not considered effective, Dr Kelly explained. She says the wearing of a mask is only effective if someone has Covid-19 and it may prevent the spread of the virus, and of course, the wearing of masks and disposable gloves is necessary in controlled clinical situations.

    Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley asked Dr Kelly for her view on the controversial effectiveness of wearing masks during the present health crisis