Covid-19: Five deaths and 611 new cases as virus spreading in 'very worrying manner'

Covid-19: Five deaths and 611 new cases as virus spreading in 'very worrying manner'

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer: "Covid-19 is spreading in our community in a very worrying manner."

There have been five new deaths and 611 new cases of Covid-19 recorded today. 

There has now been a total of 1,816 Covid related deaths in Ireland.

There is now a total of 39,584 confirmed cases of Covid in Ireland.

  • 303 are men and 305 are women 
  • 59% of those new cases are under 45 years of age 
  • 50% are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case 
  • 83 cases have been identified as community transmission 
  • 218 new cases occurred in Dublin, 63 in Cork, 60 in Donegal, 35 in Galway, 31 in Kildare and the remaining 204 are located across 21 counties

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said that all key indicators of the disease have deteriorated further in the three days since the last meeting of NPHET on Sunday, October 4. 

"Covid-19 is spreading in our community in a very worrying manner. We have to break these chains of transmission."

He added that 80 Covid-19 cases were hospitalised in August, 206 in September and 77 so far in October.

"In August, four Covid-19 related deaths in total were reported, 34 in September and today we report 8 Covid-19 related deaths this month."

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said that the trends in case numbers and incidence are now being reflected in indicators of disease severity. 

"The number of people in hospital has increased from 122 last Thursday to 156 this afternoon. There are currently 25 people in critical care compared to 20 one week ago." 

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said the case numbers and hospitalisations are growing exponentially. 

"The Reproductive number is now estimated at 1.2. If we fail to reduce viral transmission nationwide immediately, we could see 1,100 – 1,500 cases per day and 300-450 people in hospital by November 7." 

"I urge everyone to remind themselves of what they can do on an individual level to suppress the virus and prevent a surge on hospital demands. 

"Currently, the average length of stay of a Covid-19 patient is 20 days in hospital and 14 days in ICU," said Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Integrated Care Lead.

"ICU is the last stop in the care pathway for any illness. 

"Focus on prevention and follow public health advice to ensure care pathways are available to as many people and treatments as possible."

The positivity rate for testing is four per cent nationally and the reproduction rate is at 1.2-1.4. However, outside of Dublin, the growth rate is as high as 1.5 or 1.6, a situation which Dr Nolan described as worrying. 

"This means case numbers will double every 18 day if nothing changes, and we do hope things change."

The virus is also spreading among the old and young. "There are 170 cases per 100,000 people in the week just gone, in the 19-24 [age group].

"In the beginning of September, we were looking at 10-15 cases per 100,000 people in the age band of over 65. We are now looking at 30 cases [per 100,000], three times as many cases in four weeks."

Dr Holohan also said people should not blame others for catching the virus. "This is a highly contagious disease... don't blame each other." 

He said people could become afraid to come forward for testing if the virus is stigmatised.

Nphet are also worried about nursing homes. Dr Holohan said last week, seven nursing homes reported cases, this week so far there have been a further five with cases, and there are more than five nursing homes in the country with 20+ cases. 

Dr Holohan also said were were "not much behind" the North in terms of cases, after they reported 828 new cases today. Dr Holohan said there will be continued cooperation between north and south.

All of those at the briefing emphasised that increasing ICU capacity is not a clear-cut solution, and that their objective was to halt the spread of the disease so people were not hospitalised in the first place. 

Christmas celebrations were also mentioned at the meeting, with Dr Philip Nolan saying if people changed their behaviour now, the cases could come under control before the holiday season.

"We can still save Christmas if we do the right thing for the next three weeks," he said.

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