Coronavirus: 1,095 new cases and five further deaths reported in the State

Cork University Hospital has become ‘congested’ due to the impact of Covid-19

 Chief Medical Office  Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Chief Medical Office Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

There were 1,095 new cases and five further deaths reported in the State by the National Public Health Emergency (Nphet) team on Wednesday.

This is the highest number of new confirmed cases in a day, as the previous high of 1515 on April 10th included a large backlog from Germany laboratories.

Of the cases notified today, 246 are in Dublin, 185 in Meath,128 in Cavan, 118 in Cork, 63 in Kildare and the remaining 342 cases are spread across all remaining counties.

The 14 day incidence rate per 100,000 is 190.7 nationally, according to Nphet. The highest rates are in Cavan at 571 per 100,000, Monaghan 360 per 100,000, Donegal at 353.7 per 100,000 and Clare at 307.2 per 100,000.

As of 2pm today 232 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 30 are in ICU. There were nine additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Of the cases notified today 70 per cent are under 45 years of age while the median age is 31.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan described the situation as “extremely concerning.” He said “ every single one of us has a role to play”.

“We each need to reduce contact with other people as much as possible, so that means staying at home, working from home where possible, practicing physical distancing and stopping discretionary socialising.”

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said “People must now make choices. Stop meeting up in groups, stop socialising, stop organising play dates, parties and other social activities. People must recognise that the disease is a direct threat to themselves and their families. Now is the time for each of us to act.”

It comes as Cabinet is to meet later this evening to discuss the possibility of increasing Covid-19 restrictions around the Border.

Government sources have said it is “possible” some border counties will shortly move to Level 4 of the State’s Living with Covid framework but have stressed there are issues arising with the status of the retail sector.

While no decisions have been taken, there has been discussion about the possibility of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan going up to Level 4 as early as this evening.

Cork Hospital

Meanwhile it has emerged that Cork University Hospital has become “congested” due to the impact of Covid-19, with outpatient clinics moved online, staff off sick and areas of the hospital ruled out of bounds for non-Covid patients due to the risk of infection.

In a letter sent to GPs in Cork by the hospital’s acute medical assessment unit (AMU), doctors are warned that the hospital has “both admitted and discharged a high number of Covid-19 patients”

A proportion of staff of all grades in the AMU are now on sick leave due to confirmed Covid-19 while others await swabs.” As a result of this, family doctors were told, an assessment area in the hospital is now being used to accommodate Covid-19 cases “and can’t be used for assessment due to the risk of cross infection”.

In reccent weeks, the hospital has restricted visits, and last week an infectious diseases consultant at CUH expressed concern on Twitter about the impact of Covid after more than 100 cases of the disease were identified in a single day. Dr Corinna Sadlier wrote on Friday of a “sense of foreboding” as she left the hospital with “numbers trending in the wrong direction” and hospitalisations increasing.

The letter to GPs states that patients are being assessed through a single hub in the Emergency Department due to the use of the dedicated assessment area for Covid cases. “We will continue to take calls from GPs but have to prioritise supporting the GP assessment hub and assessing acutely unwell patients who need hospital admissions,” the letter states.

“For the moment our outpatient clinics where possible will be virtual for the reason above,” it concludes.

Northern Ireland is going into lockdown for four weeks, the North’s First Minister Arlene Foster confirmed in the Stormont Assembly on Wednesday.

With the incidence of Covid-19 continuing to spiral upwards and with pressure on hospital beds Ms Foster told Assembly members that the hospitality sector will shut down for four weeks from Friday while schools will close for two weeks from Monday

Ms Foster made her announcement on a day when a record 1,217 confirmed new coronavirus cases were reported by the North’s health department, bringing the total number of cases since the outbreak of the pandemic to 23,115.

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