Covid-19: Nphet would not advise closure of schools after mid-term break

Covid-19: Nphet would not advise closure of schools after mid-term break

Dr Tony Holohan briefed the press this evening at a conference at the Department of Health. File picture. 

There have been a further five deaths reported from the coronavirus in Ireland, the Department of Health have confirmed. 

This brings the total number of deaths from the virus in the country since the outbreak began to 1,890. 

There were also 720 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 confirmed today. This brings the total number of cases to 58,767. 

Dublin had the highest number of cases confirmed with 220 reported. This was followed by Cork with 130 cases while Galway reported 47 cases and Meath recorded 31. Limerick followed with 27. 

The remaining 257 cases are reported across another 20 counties. 

In the last 24 hours, 29 people were hospitalised with the virus bringing the total number of people receiving treatment for Covid-19 to 341 as of 2pm today.

38 people are receiving treatment for coronavirus in intensive care. 

The median age of cases reported today is 32 years old while 65% of reported cases are under 45 years of age. 

The Department of Health reported that more women than men had contracted the disease with 348 men and 371 women recorded as patients. 

The national 14-day incident rate is now averaging 307.6 cases per 100,000 of the population, in comparison, this was at its lowest rate in July earlier this year at 2.98 cases per 100,000 of the population.

'Definitely not': No corner turned on Covid-19 

Commenting on the latest case data, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Tony Holohan said there has been a drop in cases in the past week from over 1,000 cases a day but warned that it is too early to see it as an identifiable trend.

He said it is better to see cases lower but that we as a country are “definitely not” in a position where we have turned a corner.

Asked about the need for Level 5, Dr Holohan said the country needs than a stabilisation of the numbers and actually needs a more aggressive approach.

He said the introduction of level 3 measures had shown some stabilisation in Dublin initially but they began going up again to a level that was not sustainable.

Nphet will not advise closure of schools on public health grounds

In relation to schools, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Heather Burns said the latest data showed a positivity rate of 2.7% of close contacts at primary school level and 2.1% of close contacts at post-primary schools.

She said those figures are well below the 10% rate in the wider populations which shows that schools are safe environments.

She said keeping the schools open is a priority for government and for public health officials.

Dr Holohan said it will not be the advice of Nphet on public health grounds that schools stay closed after the mid-term break.

In relation to Halloween, Dr Holohan said the kind of normal mixing between households customary at this time of year "is just not going to be possible this year, I am afraid".

The CMO also rejected criticism of him from airlines that the restrictions on travel in place from Ireland are too onerous.

He cited the United States where he said the numbers are in an alarming place and while the main focus has not been on international travel, he is not in a position to recommend an easing of restrictions on travel out of the country.

He pointed to that no country currently stands on the green list of safe countries and that international travel is a known means of transmission.

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