Covid-19: Nine out of 10 deaths among over-65s, CSO data finds

Number of virus outbreaks and hospitalisations continue to fall, according to HSPC report

More than 90 per cent of deaths from Covid-19 occurred in people aged 65 and over, according to an analysis by the Central Statistics Office.

Some 42 per cent of deaths were in those aged 85 and over, 75 per cent in people aged 75 and over and 91 per cent in people aged 65 and over.

The CSO analysis focuses on cases where Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death, rather than the larger number of deaths of people with Covid-19. Between March 2020 and February 2022, it found from analysing death certificates, there were 5,384 such deaths.

Some 59 per cent occurred in general and orthopaedic hospitals, 29 per cent in nursing homes and almost 5 per cent at home.

Dublin city, home to a large number of hospitals, recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths at 951. Leitrim, which has no large hospital, recorded 26 deaths during the period. There were no deaths in maternity or paediatric hospitals.

Meanwhile, 24 new Covid-19 outbreaks were notified last week, a fall of 37 compared with the previous week, according to the latest weekly update from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. There were seven new outbreaks in hospitals, six in nursing homes and five in community hospitals/long-stay units and residential institutions.

The fall in nursing home outbreaks is particularly marked, from 38 two weeks ago to six last week.

A total of 3,954 PCR-confirmed tests were reported last week, down 36 per cent on the previous week. A further 5,307 positive antigen tests were reported, down 32 per cent. Not all groups are regularly tested at present, so these figures do not give a full picture of the spread of infection.

A further 11 Covid-related deaths were reported, bringing the pandemic total to 7,700.

Sligo, Kerry and Carlow had the highest incidence of confirmed tests last week, while Louth, Wicklow and Mayo had the lowest.

Of the 521 people with Covid-19 who were hospitalised last week, 50 were aged 12 or under. About half of Covid-19 cases in hospital were admitted for other reasons and are classed as incidental cases.

Three pregnant women with Covid-19 have required admission to ICU during the current wave of the pandemic (since last December), according to the HPSC, compared with 39 in the previous wave.

There were 398 patients with the virus in hospital on Wednesday, down from 417 the previous day, according to the Department of Health. Of these, 30 were in ICU, up one on Tuesday.

Separately, the HPSC is now reporting 97 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland. Worldwide there are now 26,208 confirmed cases in 87 countries.

The World Health Organisation recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times