Covid-19: Half of close contacts not showing for follow-up tests

Covid-19: Half of close contacts not showing for follow-up tests

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, says moving the country to level 5 can reverse the current trends.

Ireland will get coronavirus under control once more, the Chief Medical Officer says, but half of close contacts are not showing for follow-up tests.

Dr Tony Holohan was speaking as a further 13 deaths and 1,269 cases of the virus were announced ahead of  Ireland going to level 5 restrictions at midnight on Wednesday.

Dr Holohan said that he did not want to answer hypotheticals on what Plan B might be if this lockdown doesn't work.

"The buy-in and behaviour of people will be really important. What's important now is that we all take personal responsibility."

"We're not going to start on a pessimistic note. We know we have a big challenge to overcome, but we believe we can overcome it."

Dr Holohan said that it was taking on average two days for people who have symptoms to come forward for testing and this needed to be shortened. 

However, he said that the "data did not support" the idea that schools were any more dangerous in terms of exposure to the virus than anywhere else.

He said that of tests in 519 schools, 12,658 children and adults had been tested, with 352 additional cases identified above the index or initial case.

Dr Heather Burns, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said the positivity rate in schools was 2.8%, with the general rate being over 7%. She added that it was important that children and staff do not attend school when ill.

Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Integrated Care Lead, pleaded with those who test positive to attend for their secondary test on day seven of having had the virus. Thus far, she said, just half of the people were attending for this. 

She said that while the positivity rate among these people was between two and three percent, this was still a significant number of people.

"It’s a small percentage, but, nonetheless, it’s people that we’re missing.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of 1,269 new cases of Covid-19.

This brings the total number of cases in Ireland to 52,256.

Of the cases announced today, 221 are in Meath, 203 in Dublin, 116 in Cork and 80 in Cavan. The remaining 649 cases are spread across all remaining counties.

As of 2pm this afternoon, 312 Covid-19 patients are in hospital meaning there have been 13 new hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Of those patients in hospital, 34 are in ICU.

The national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 now stands at 279.3.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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