Covid-19: Second death confirmed as total number of cases reaches 129

The Department of Health has announced that a person in the east of the country has passed away.

Covid-19: Second death confirmed as total number of cases reaches 129

A second person has died from Covid-19, the Department of Health announced this evening.

The man, who in the east of the country, is reported to have had an underlying health condition.

It also announced that there are 39 new cases bringing the total number of cases in the Republic to 129.

This is the biggest single increase in the country since the virus arrived on our shores.

Of the new cases, there are 29 males and 10 females. Twenty-one of the cases are in the east of the country, 13 are in the south, three in the north west and two are in the west of Ireland.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

It is believed that six people have been admitted to ICU with Covid-19 - no change since yesterday.

This afternoon, five new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the North bringing the total number of cases there to 34 and the total on the island to 163.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan extended his sympathies to the family and friends of the patient who lost his life.

Dr Holohan said that the increase in cases today reinforces the necessity of the measures that have been put in place.

Members of the public were once again urged to follow the measures which include hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing, school closures and limiting the size of mass gatherings.

It is up to every one of us to play our role in slowing down the spread of this disease.

People were reminded that the measures are in place to limit the spread of the virus and to protect others in the country, especially those who are the most vulnerable.

Dr Holohan said that he feels some young adults have not been complying with the measures, citing those aged between 20 and 40 in particular.

"Social distancing applies to all age groups, all people in Ireland.

"We need our younger generation to follow social distancing measures to protect their grandparents, parents or family members who may have underlying health conditions."

He added that social distancing does not mean that people are being confined to their houses.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer added to this saying that there are many anecdotal stories of people ignoring the social distancing guidelines.

"We are in an unprecedented global situation. Everyone in the country must play their part in protecting the most vulnerable and slowing down the spread of this disease.”

Dr Holohan noted the pressure on emergency service phonelines today and explained that 112/999 is not an advice line.

"If you have flu like symptoms, self isolate at home until Monday and visit hse.ie for advice.

"You can call your GP on Monday morning and they will decide if you need a test. Please only call 999 or GP out of hours for emergencies."

Yesterday, the case definition for the virus was updated.

Symptoms of new onset fever of 38 degrees or more, or chills and/or symptoms of respiratory tract infections including cough are now considered when assessing the requirement for testing.

Members of the public who have normal cold and flu symptoms or who believe they may have been in contact with Covid-19 are being asked to self-isolate and call a GP on Monday.

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has advised that from Monday GPs will be able to order the test electronically through their IT system, Healthlink.

GPs will not undertake the tests themselves to help protect their staff and other patients.

The ICGP said the HSE will have enhanced capacity for testing from Monday.

The HSE plan to have community COVID-19 testing centres established to enable testing at local level.

Officials say they are working through the weekend to make sure enough testing facilities are in place by Monday to meet increased demand.

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