Coronavirus: 1,914 new cases as Glynn warns of ‘deteriorating picture’

‘We are seeing increased incidences across most age groups,’ says deputy CMO

Glynn said shifting trends  having an impact on the health service with hospital admissions rising to between 40 and 50 a day on average. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Glynn said shifting trends having an impact on the health service with hospital admissions rising to between 40 and 50 a day on average. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A further 1,914 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Friday.

A total of 413 patients are hospitalised with the virus, of whom 73 are in ICU.

Earlier, deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn asked members of the public to work from home “where possible” this autumn and winter as he warned of a “deteriorating picture” in the battle against Covid-19 in Ireland.

Case numbers are surging and the average age of those infected is rising sharply. “Let’s work from home where possible this autumn and winter,” he said.

“Unfortunately, over the past 10 days we have seen a deteriorating picture with increasing incidents across most counties across the country, and our national incidences are now about 400 per 100,000 population.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing increased incidences across most age groups, including older age groups, and the median age of cases has increased from the mid-20s to now being 36 years of age.”

Dr Glynn said the shifting trends are having an impact on the health service with hospital admissions rising to between 40 and 50 a day on average, and admissions to intensive care averaging at around five a day.

While the vaccination programme has been “fantastic” and is protecting over 90 per cent of the population “the reality unfortunately is that 370,000 adults in this country have either not come forward at all for vaccination to date or have come forward for just the first of a two-dose schedule.”

This leaves them “as vulnerable to Covid now as they have been at any point in the pandemic to date” and their decision is having “a disproportionate impact on them personally, but it is also impacting disproportionately on admissions to hospital and admissions to intensive care.”

Vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and hospitalisation but “if enough disease is circulating in our communities, a proportion of vaccinated people will get sick with Covid, will end up in hospital and will end up in intensive care,” he added.

Dr Glynn also urged those who are vaccinated not to ignore other basic public health measures such as hand washing, not meeting up with others if symptomatic, and continuing to work from home where possible.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should get tested and isolate, he said.

Mixing

As society reopens, people are mixing and interacting with others “on a scale far greater than at any point in the pandemic to date” which is giving viruses – not just Covid-19 – an opportunity to circulate and “make vulnerable people very unwell.”

Dr Glynn’s comments were described as “unfortunate” by a major business representative group, coming days out from the next Nphet meeting and sending a renewed wave of uncertainty.

“It’s very unhelpful to have this unstructured musing from the deputy chief medical officer,” Neil McDonnell, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association (Isme) said. “We would just like to see a bit of structure on this.”

Mr McDonnell said the appeal has come just as many businesses had attempted to facilitate complex flexible working conditions for staff.

“So just to come out flat and say we should work from home for as long as possible; that sort of stuff will be a nail in the coffin for a lot of businesses.”

He said many are reliant on collaboration and team work, something they had been hoping to get back to. Interpersonal issues have also begun to come to the fore in many businesses, he added, including disputes that would ordinarily be resolved quickly in an office setting.

A spokesman for Ibec said nobody was available to comment.

Northern Ireland

A further four people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the North’s Department of Health reported on Friday. A total of 1,349 new cases of the virus were confirmed.

In the North’s hospitals 348 patients with Covid-19 are receiving treatment, with 37 in intensive care.

According to separate data released on Friday by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) there were 30 deaths involving Covid-19 on the week to October 8th.

Nisra recorded the total number of deaths related to Covid-19 until October 8th as 3,512, compared to 2,585 reported by the department.

The Nisra figure is always higher than the department’s as it is drawn from different sources.

The department’s count is based on patients, primarily in hospitals, who have tested positive for Covid-19, whereas the Nisra data is based on information entered on death certificates completed by medical professionals.

In this case the individual may or may not have tested positive for Covid-19, so the figures can include both confirmed and suspected cases, and Covid-19 may not have been the main cause of death.

Separate Nisra analysis based on the date of death registration showed that Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of 28 deaths in the week ending October 8th, a decrease of 20 compared with the previous week.

This weekly total is similar to that last observed at the start of August, Nisra said.

Meanwhile, an additional £5.5 million is to be allocated to GPs in Northern Ireland to support them over the winter.

The North’s Department of Health has earmarked an additional £3.8 million to support additional patient care during the winter, and up to £1.7 million to further improve telephony infrastructure and accessibility, such as the use of online systems for ordering repeat prescriptions in order to free up telephone lines and staff time.

The department said this was in addition to the £1.7 million already invested to upgrade GP telephony systems to improve telephone access.