Virus 'suppressed' in nursing homes but slight rise in travel cases

Virus 'suppressed' in nursing homes but slight rise in travel cases
Dr Tony Holohan. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Health officials say Covid-19 has essentially been suppressed in institutional settings like nursing homes.

However, there has been a slight increase in travel-related cases in recent days.

The remarks were made at last night's NPHET briefing, where officials confirmed four people with Covid-19 had died. There has now been a total of 1,714 Covid-19 related deaths in the country. 

They also confirmed an additional 16 cases, meaning there have been 25,355 confirmed cases. Of these, some 13% have been hospitalised and 417 of those have been admitted to ICU.

Overall, some 32% of cases are associated with healthcare workers.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said the reproductive rate is between 0.5 and 0.7. He said it is "heartening" that there has been no significant increase in community transmission since the start of Phase 2.

Prof Nolan said the virus is "at a very low level and very stable" and the "disease has been suppressed in institutional settings".

He noted there has been an increase in travel-related cases in the last fortnight, including from the UK and Sweden, though he put this figure at "less than 10".

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the advice regarding overseas travel remains the same: "Now is not the time".

He said NPHET has given advice to the health minister regarding accelerating other business openings, such as hairdressers, as well as on matters such as weddings and other gatherings. This is due to be considered by Cabinet ahead of any further changes.

Health officials are hoping to resume hospital visits in the case of expectant parents as part of an overall increase in non-Covid activities in the health sector, though Dr Holohan did not provide a timeframe for this. 

Dr Holohan said approximately half of those diagnosed with Covid-19 in the community "take more than two days from the onset of symptoms to make contact with their GP" and said it is important to self-isolate immediately and make phone contact with a doctor.

Officials also noted a new Covid-19 dashboard has been launched on covid19ireland-geohive.hub.arcgis.com. It provides up-to-date information, including the number of cases in local areas, as well as daily stats.

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