9,938 new Covid-19 cases confirmed as infection rates among children rise sharply

9,938 new Covid-19 cases confirmed as infection rates among children rise sharply

4,673 of the new cases were recorded via positive antigen tests registered on the HSE portal on Wednesday File Picture: iStock

9,938 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed by health officials this evening. 

5,265 of the new cases were identified through PCR testing while the remaining 4,673 were recorded via positive antigen tests registered on the HSE portal on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital continues to fall. 

As of 8am this morning, there were 708 Covid-19 patients hospitalised - 21 fewer than yesterday.

Also this morning, there were 71 Covid patients receiving treatment in intensive care units, a decrease of three Wednesday's figure. 

Two weeks ago, 997 Covid patients were being treated in hospital, down from an earlier peak of 1,063 on January 10.

Sharp rise in Covid-19 infection rates among children

There were 4,707 Covid-19 case cases among under-fours in the last week.
There were 4,707 Covid-19 case cases among under-fours in the last week.

Covid-19 infection rates are continuing to rise sharply among children, with those aged five to 12 the worst affected cohort, the latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show. 

Last week 11.2% of new Covid cases were among children aged five to 12, and 10.3% among teens. 

In addition, there were 4,707 cases among under-fours, accounting for 4.8% of new cases.

The number of cases in each of the under-18s age-groups rose sharply from the previous week, with the biggest rise in those aged five to 12, up by 3,093.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 since March 2020 now stands at 6,136 in Ireland, with 49 newly notified in the last week. 

The HPSC's update cautions that the figures for January may not reflect the exact situation due to the high level of cases. However, the data does point to a high level of infection in the younger age groups.

Professor Jonathan Hourihane, paediatrician with CHI at Temple Street, said while most children have mild respiratory illnesses, there are serious risks for a small number of children from this virus and related complications.

More than 80% of teens up to 18 years old are now vaccinated, but fewer than one in five under-11s have taken up the vaccines.

The age-group with the highest number of cases were those aged 35 to 44 years, making up 18.3% of the new cases last week, followed by people aged 25-34 at 17.1% of new cases.

Infections in the older age groups remain low, but again appear to be rising compared with earlier in January. Among over-85s, there were 610 new cases, up from 428 the week before.

Updated county-by-county case figures were also issued, but with a caution, as many people were forced to travel out of their county to get PCR tests due to pressure on the system.

Munster

In Munster, Cork had the highest reported number of cases at 8,536 last week, followed by Clare at 3,518, Limerick with 2,911, Tipperary with 2,901 new cases and Waterford with 2,157.

Kerry had the lowest number of cases last week in Munster at 1,710.

Dublin continues to report the highest number of cases, despite pressures on the system meaning many people were not tested, with 25,692 new cases identified last week.

A separate HPSC report on outbreaks in educational settings shows 18 outbreaks linked to schools last week, and four to childcare facilities. Since September, 23% of the cases linked to childcare facilities such as creches have included only two cases, the data shows.

The 502 school outbreaks since September have been linked to 3,044 cases, with 24% of these outbreaks involving just two cases.

“The positivity rate among those tested as part of the Covid-19 mass testing for post primary schools and schools in the special education sector is increased compared to term 1,” the report states, adding the numbers remain “small”.

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