16 deaths from Covid-19 confirmed and 51 new cases announced

16 deaths from Covid-19 confirmed and 51 new cases announced
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid contradicted each other today over employers receiving employees coronavirus results.

A further 16 people have died from Covid-19 the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed.

There have now been a total of 1,561 deaths in Ireland from the coronavirus.

51 new cases were also confirmed today by health authorities bringing the total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland to 24, 251.

Dr. Cillian De Gascun, Chair of the NPHET Expert Advisory Group said the figures indicate consistent suppression of Covid-19 within the community.

He said: "Despite broadening the case definition and increases in referrals the positivity rate has continued to decline. This indicates a consistent suppression of COVID-19 in the community."

A further breakdown of data provided by the HPSC shows:

  • 57% are female and 43% are male
  • the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
  • 3,143 cases (13%) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 390 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 7,661 cases are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,759 (49% of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,379 cases (6%) and then Cork with 1,372 cases (5%)
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 60%, close contact accounts for 37%, travel abroad accounts for 3%

Earlier today senior health officials appeared before the Oireachtas’ special committee on Covid-19.

They were discussing Ireland's response to the pandemic.

During these appearances, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and the Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid directly contradicted each other over employers receiving employees coronavirus results.

It was revealed that the Data Protection Commissioner had received complaints in some instances of mass testing employees, management had received the employee's results first.

When the news first broke during the morning session of Tuesday's committee, CMO Dr Tony Holohan said the practice would be a "breach of confidentiality, full stop. Employers should not be receiving results for employees”.

In the afternoon session, Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE, was pressed on the matter by Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy, who asked how many employers had been informed of their employees' test results before the employees themselves, and said that public health officials can make a "judgement call" on the issue.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said the government will shortly decide on how long the pandemic unemployment payment will continue for and at what level.

Mr Donohoe said he did not want the government to discriminate against women returning to work after maternity leave and that officials were addressing these concerns.

Asked about plans to extend the Covid-19 €350 unemployment payment beyond June, Mr Donohoe said he knew the money was "important" for families and that the government was looking at the period and what amounts would be paid.

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