Coronavirus Ireland: 51 more deaths and 2,608 new cases confirmed

Another 51 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,608 more cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health this evening. f the 51 new de...

Another 51 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,608 more cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.

f the 51 new deaths, 49 of them occurred in January, with the median age of those who died being 80 years old. The age range meanwhile was 58-103 years.

Of the latest cases, 1,019 are in Dublin, 204 in Cork, 135 in Donegal, 132 in Galway, 131 in Kildare, and the remaining 987 cases were spread across other counties.

Of the new cases today, 1,230 are men and 1,346 are women. Additionally, 55pc are from people under 45 years of age, with the median age being 42.

The reproduction rate has fallen considerably to 0.5 to 0.8.

Chair of NPHET professor Philip Nolan said that: “We have to keep it below 0.1 if we are to successfully emerge out of the current wave.”

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan commented on today’s figures, saying that: “while we are making clear progress in reducing incidence we can see we still have a very large burden of infection.

“To illustrate this on December 1, when we last eased restrictions, our five day moving average was 261 cases per day, today it is almost ten times that number 2,430 cases per day.

“It is evident that the population is working as one to reduce contacts and interrupt further transmission of the disease. However, we are watching the effects of high levels of community transmission through our hospital and ICU admissions and reported deaths.

“We need to continue to work together to drive this infection down and bring the disease back under control.”

Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee Karina Butler said that while rolling out the coronavirus vaccine provides hope, we must continue to adhere to public health guidelines.

She said: “Vaccine arrival has been a real morale booster in hospitals and nursing homes.

“As we are able to roll it out to the wider community it will undoubtedly lift spirits. But please remember we are at a precarious time and if we drop our guard we could undermine our efforts to combat COVID-19. For now, we must stay the course, keep contacts to a minimum, stay home and follow public health advice.”

The HSE also published the results of the PRECISE study today, which looked at antibodies to Covid-19 in healthcare workers in two Irish hospitals. In St James’s Hospital, 15pc of staff had antibodies for Covid-19 while 4.1pc of staff in University Hospital Galway had antibodies.

National Clinical Director for Health Protection HSE Dr Lorraine Doherty said: “The results of the study will help the health service in its response to COVID-19. It is also important to note that antibody positivity cannot be taken to mean a person is immune, and all Infection Prevention and Control measures still need to be followed.

“The study will be repeated in the springtime to see how seroprevalence changes with successive waves of the pandemic, and how antibody status changes in the individuals who participate both times.

“The second round of testing will also look at vaccine response versus natural infection, given recent commencement of the national vaccination programme.”

This comes just hours after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil that every person in the country will have received a Covid-19 vaccination by September.

Minister Donnelly said Ireland would receive 3.3 million doses of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine when approval for use is given by the European Medicines Agency, as expected on January 26.

He said Ireland was trying to get advance supplies of the vaccine before formal authorisation of use, as otherwise it would be mid-February .

But every citizen would then be able to receive the vaccine by September because the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine is a game-changer, he said.

It is more easily storable and usable, and was produced on a “not for profit” basis. This country will receive 200,000 doses a month.

“You don’t have to be a citizen, it’s for anybody who’s here,” Mr Donnelly told TDs.

‘We are on target (for vaccines). By Sunday we will have hit nearly half — 70,000 — of 150,000 frontline healthcare workers.”

“From Sunday, notwithstanding the outliers, the nursing homes will have been done,” he said.

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Newsrust: Coronavirus Ireland: 51 more deaths and 2,608 new cases confirmed
Coronavirus Ireland: 51 more deaths and 2,608 new cases confirmed
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