Covid cases in hospitals drop below 500 for first time this year

As of 8am this morning, 497 people are receiving treatment for the coronavirus in Irish hospitals, the first time this has dropped below 500 since New Year's Eve. 
Covid cases in hospitals drop below 500 for first time this year

University Hospital Limerick was hard hit in the third wave of the virus. 117 people are receiving treatment in hospital. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

Hospitalised Covid patients number less than 500 for the first time this year according to HSE data published this morning on Ireland's Covid-19 Data Hub.

As of 8am this morning, 497 people are receiving treatment for the coronavirus in Irish hospitals, the first time this has dropped below 500 since New Year's Eve. 

117 of those patients are receiving treatment in intensive care units (ICU) and no ICU admissions have been in the past 24 hours, the first time since St Stephen's Day. 

In the past 24 hours, 28 people have been admitted to hospital while 56 patients have been discharged. Hospitalisations peaked in the third wave on Janaury 18, with 2,020 patients receiving treatment in hospital. 

Health officials have praised the progress made in the hospital system and have linked the fall in Covid hospitalizations to public compliance with Level 5 restrictions. 

Speaking at last night at the National Public Health Emergency Team's (Nphet) briefing, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn said public efforts are showing results. 

Dr Ronan Glynn said: "While the number of daily cases and the number of people in hospital and critical care remain high, we continue to make progress. "In the last 24 hours, we have had no new admissions to critical care, the first time this has happened since St Stephen's Day.

"This is one more tangible signal of the efforts that people continue to make and how those efforts are impacting positively on the trajectory of Covid-19 in Ireland. Please stick with this over the coming weeks."

Public compliance with the stringent Level 5 lockdown has come under scrutiny with reports of social gatherings among third-level students a particular focus. 

However, a new study from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) reported the public find containing the spread of the virus more important than the burden of restrictions. 

Professor Pete Lunn, head of the Behavioural Research Unit at the ERSI, said the evidence showed that while people are finding it tough going, the large majority, 79% believe that preventing the spread of Covid-19 is more important than the burden of restrictions.

Professor Lunn said: "The data also show systematic misperceptions about social activity. Presently, half the adult population does not meet up with anyone outside their household over a 48-hour period, with less than one quarter meeting up with three or more.

"Yet these more socially active people believe that they are meeting fewer people than average. Most people believe that others are enjoying more of a social life than they are. Those who are in fact most socially active do not realise this. The finding is important and we need to try to correct this misperception. 

"When people appreciate effort being made by others, they typically become more likely to follow," he said.

-With reporting by Press Association

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