A further 25 deaths and 566 new Covid-19 cases reported by Nphet

HSE misses 100,000 vaccine dose target for last week

 HSE chief executive Paul Reid said infections among the most vulnerable and healthcare workers were hugely decreasing. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said infections among the most vulnerable and healthcare workers were hugely decreasing. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

 

A further 25 people have died from the Covid-19 pandemic, while another 566 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported by the Department of Health.

There has now been a total of 4,357 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland. Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, five occurred in March, 13 occurred in February, and six occurred in January or earlier.

There has now been a total of 221,189 confirmed cases of the virus in the Republic.

As of 8am on Wednesday, there were 489 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 114 were in intensive care. There have been 29 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

The Department of Health said there have been 439,782 doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in Ireland. Some 297,899 people have received their first dose, while 141,883 people have received their second dose.

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer at the Department of Health said the State was on a positive trajectory.

“Through the hard work and sacrifice of the vast majority of people, key disease indicators continue on a positive trajectory,” he said.

“However,we are still seeing outbreaks in the community, including those linked to extended families, workplaces and funerals. We need to keep up our guard against the B117 variant of Covid-19, which we know is dominant in Ireland at present and highly transmissible.

“Our willingness to stick with the public health advice in our daily routine has brought us the progress that we can see today.

“Together, through staying at home as much as possible, social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings, we can continue to drive down the spread of Covid-19.”

Of the cases notified on Wednesday, 280 are men while 284 are female. Two-thirds are under 45 years old, while the median age is 34 years old.

In terms of geographical distribution, there were 233 cases in Dublin, 37 in Kildare, 30 in Meath, 25 in Donegal, 24 in Westmeath, while the remaining 217 cases were spread across all other counties.

Vaccine target

Earlier, it emerged that the Health Service Executive (HSE) missed its target of issuing 100,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses last week.

The latest figures from the HSE’s Covid-19 vaccination dashboard show that 81,843 doses were administered between February 22nd-28th.

Last Sunday, saw the lowest number of vaccines administered over the week, with just 2,427 first doses and 35 second doses given.

The delays follow a change in AstraZeneca’s vaccine delivery schedule for last week and this week, something the State’s vaccination taskforce was informed of at “very late notice”, chairman of the group, Prof Brian MacCraith, said at the weekend.

Prof MacCraith has said the delay was “not a reduction in deliveries” and that the State could “recover completely what had been lost” from next weekend.

The Government previously said the vaccination rollout would accelerate this month with about 100,000 doses being administered per week in March, rising to between 200,000 and 300,000 per week in April.

A total of 439,782 vaccination doses were administered up to the end of last week, which included 297,899 first doses and 141,883 second doses.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the large majority of over-85s would received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this week.

He said there were some over-85s who were housebound and had not yet been vaccinated and “individual solutions” were being put in place.

The Wicklow TD said the latest figures he had showed the State had received 520,000 vaccines while the forecast is to have administered some 500,000 by the end of this week.

Drop in hospitalisations

Meanwhile, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has continued to fall to 475, according to the latest figures from the HSE.

There were 112 patients with the virus in intensive care (ICU) on Tuesday night.

Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, said the drop in numbers were “reasons to be very hopeful” along with vaccines showing “very positive early signs of effectiveness”.

“Infections amongst the most vulnerable and healthcare workers hugely decreasing,” Mr Reid said on Twitter on Wednesday morning. “More to go, so let’s see this through now.”

St James’s Hospital in Dublin has 63 Covid-19 cases, the highest number in the country, followed by Beaumont Hospital (53) and Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown (43).

The HSE’s daily operations figures show there are 26 ICU beds available for adults and seven for children.

A further 14 deaths of Covid-19 patients were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Tuesday and 359 confirmed cases of the disease, the lowest number of daily cases since mid-December.

Three of the deaths occurred in March, 10 in February and one in November.

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said while the low number of cases reported may be attributable to “a weekend effect”, it was nevertheless “very welcome and represents the lowest number of cases reported on a single day since mid-December”.

“While we continue to make good progress in Ireland, globally in the past week, the number of cases has increased for the first time in seven weeks,” he said.

“We must not allow this virus the opportunity to do the same here. Please hold firm to the public health advice and together we can continue to protect and build on the progress we have made over the last two months.”