Coronavirus: 1,006 new cases and 54 further deaths reported in the State

Person with highest number of close contacts was 68 in the days over Christmas, figures show

There have been a further 54 deaths related to Covid-19 reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), with the fatalities among people ranging in age from 48 to 104.

This brings to 3,794 the total number of deaths of people with the virus during the 11-month pandemic.

Of the newly reported deaths from the disease, 45 occurred in February, five in January and four are still being investigated. The median age of those who died was 86 years.

A further 1,006 confirmed cases of the disease were notified to Nphet, bring


ing the total known number of cases of the coronavirus disease in the State to 205,939.

The national incidence rate of the disease over the past 14 days is 312 cases for every 100,000 with Monaghan, the most infected county, reporting double this level, at 624 cases per 100,000.

The counties with the next highest incidence rate of the virus are Waterford with 435 cases per 100,000 people, Carlow with 407.5, Wexford with 406.8 and Dublin with 402.6 cases per 100,000.

Roscommon has the lowest incidence rate with 131.7 cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days.

Among the new 1,006 cases of the disease, 65 per cent were under 45 years of age and the median age age is 35. Some 516 people were in Dublin, 63 in Cork and 46 in Galway.

Latest vaccination figures show that an additional 1,000 people received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday and a further 2,489 people received their second dose that day.

In total, 240,487 doses of the vaccine had been administered as of Sunday, including to 152,654 people who have received their first dose. Of those, 86,833 people had received their second dose.

There were 1,032 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Wednesday morning - down from 1,104 the previous day - and 173 people in intensive care units, five fewer people than a day earlier.

There were an additional 40 people admitted to hospital and 91 people discharged over the previous 24 hours.


New HSE figures on Covid-19 outbreaks show the number of outbreaks in nursing homes halved in a week and new infections linked to hospital outbreaks declined for fourth week in a row.

This may indicate that nursing homes and hospitals - the first settings to receive Covid-19 vaccines - may be seeing some benefit from the first inoculations over recent weeks.

The new AstraZeneca vaccine, one of three authorised for use in the State, is being administered to frontline healthcare workers for the first time this week.

Doctors do not expect a reversal in the Government’s decision to favour the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the AstraZeneca jab for the over-70s - the next group to be vaccinated, starting next week - until there is harder evidence to show its effectiveness among older people, despite a World Health Organisation export panel recommending its use in people aged 65 and older.

“The only thing that would change that is solid evidence that it is effective in the over-65s. The WHO statement doesn’t tell me that,” said Dr Denis McCauley, chair of the GP committee of the Irish Medical Organisation.

Latest outbreaks statistics show a sharp increase in the number of family outbreaks in private homes, supporting the finding that close contacts of new cases are largely members of the same family household.

According to figures for the week to last Saturday, there were 72 new family outbreaks in private homes - an increase of 37 from the previous week.

Close contacts

Family outbreaks account for the largest number of outbreaks, with 1,343 outbreaks being reported in the third wave of the pandemic as infections have surged since Christmas.

New figures obtained by The Irish Times show that the individual with the highest number of close contacts recorded by the HSE’s test and trace system was an individual with 68 contacts in the days over Christmas. At the time, the average number of close contacts was six.

Last week the highest number was a person with 21 close contacts when the average is three.

There were 12 new outbreaks in nursing homes in the week to February 6th - down from 23 the previous week - bringing to 209 the number of nursing home outbreaks in this wave.

This amounts to 36 per cent of the country’s 580 nursing homes.

There were an additional 473 cases linked to these outbreaks - down from 579 new cases in nursing home outbreaks the previous week.

This brings the number of cases linked to these outbreaks to 5,974 during the third wave.

The outbreaks have left seven people in intensive care units and resulted in 569 deaths.

Adding community hospitals and long-stay resident units to nursing homes, there are now 203 open outbreaks of the disease.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times