Ireland at 'very delicate and critical point' in response to Covid-19 outbreak

Ireland at 'very delicate and critical point' in response to Covid-19 outbreak
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, during a Department of Health media update today. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

A further 28 deaths related to the Covid-19 virus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

In total, there has now been 263 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

According to the latest briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), 500 new cases of the virus have been confirmed bringing the total confirmed cases to 6,574.

The increase of 500 is the single largest daily increase yet recorded.

Officials said that if no measures had been taken, the country would have been facing 100,000 cases of Covid-19 within the next two weeks.

They said at a briefing that while eliminating the virus is not possible, the aim is to suppress it as much as possible.

“We are seeing a day-on-day reduction in the growth of the epidemic. The growth in cases is slowing down but, frankly, that number needs to be zero,” Prof Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG), said.

Of the 28 deaths, 22 of those were in the east of the country, 2 in the north-west, 2 in the south and 2 in the west.

Officials said 15 of the deaths were male and 13 were female and the median age of those who died was 84.

Of those who lost their lives, 19 of the 28 reported as having underlying health conditions.

The latest data from the HPSC, as of midnight, Tuesday 7 April (6,444 cases), reveals:

  • That 45% are male and 53% are female, with 317 clusters involving 1,391 cases
  • The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
  • 1,521cases (24%) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 230 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 1,765 cases are associated with healthcare workers

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 3557, (55% of all cases) followed by Cork with 472 cases (7%). Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 66%, close contact accounts for 24%, travel abroad accounts for 9%

The National Public Health Emergency Team’s modelling data has revealed that Ireland’s effort to date has greatly reduced the transmission of the virus.

The growth rate has reduced from 33% daily in the early weeks of this outbreak, to 9% this week. The number of people, on average, that someone with Covid-19 is likely to infect was high at the beginning of the outbreak at 4.5. We now see this ‘R’ (reproduction) number reduced very significantly.

Prof Nolan said; “When an R number increases by even a fraction above 1, the number of new cases per day will rise, slowly but inexorably.

We are at a very delicate and critical point in our response to this pandemic.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “The virus is still sustaining itself in our community. If we do not stay at home and practice physical distancing then we are not stopping the spread.

“It is crucial that each one of us take seriously the risks this virus poses, follows the guidelines and limit the opportunity for this virus to spread.

“We must follow the public health advice as closely as we possibly can so that we can limit the spread of the virus.

"Stay at home, practice physical distancing, practice hand hygiene, protect eachother."

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said; “I would like to acknowledge the enormous efforts of healthcare workers caring for patients in hospitals and the community. The best way people can show support for them is by staying at home and observing the guidelines. This keeps everyone safe.”

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