Coronavirus: 24 further deaths and 371 cases reported in State

Six classes in Longford school sent home after five Covid-19 cases confirmed

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn on Monday described a ‘mixed picture’ in outbreaks across the country. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn on Monday described a ‘mixed picture’ in outbreaks across the country. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

A further 24 deaths of Covid-19 patients have been reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team.

This brings to 4,610 the total number of deaths in the pandemic.

Those who died ranged in age from 49-100 years and the median age was 82.

On Tuesday, Nphet also reported 371 confirmed cases of the disease, the lowest daily total in the last week.

Of the new cases, 151 were in Dublin, 31 in Offaly, 27 in Donegal, 25 in Galway and 21 in Meath with the remaining 116 cases are spread across 16 other counties.

The 14-day incidence of the disease now stands at 158 cases per 100,000 people nationally. Offaly has the highest county incidence, followed by Longford. Kilkenny has the lowest incidence.

The median age of cases is 30 years and 75 per cent are under 45.

On Tuesday morning, 357 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 76 were in ICU. There were 25 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.

Up to Saturday, 675,946 doses of vaccine had been administered in Ireland: 492,106 people have received their first doses and 183,840 people their second.

Meanwhile, six classes have been sent home from a national school in Co Longford after five cases of Covid-19 were confirmed among pupils.

Two of the six classes at St Colmcille National School affected were “shut down” on Monday with testing underway to ensure the spread of the virus is contained.

It is believed the first two positive cases at the north Longford school came on St Patrick’s Day night with an additional two cases coming on Friday. The fifth case was confirmed on Monday.

It’s also understood two staff members are working remotely as they are classified as “high risk”.

Letters have been emailed informing parents and guardians of cases with text messages also being dispatched advising families as to whether they are deemed close contacts of confirmed cases.

School principal Aideen Mulligan said the school remains open and praised staff and parents in the wake of the outbreak, adding that she believed the virus came via community transmission and did not originate from within the school.

“The HSE seems happy that the infections came into the school from outside,” she said. “But it does mean we have three classes that are out and because there are siblings of those in the school, it means we don’t have many (pupils) in.”

The Longford school cluster follows a Covid-19 outbreak in a creche in Tullamore, Co Offaly, earlier this week where eight staff members tested positive for the virus with 15 cases among the children. The majority of the children are understood to be asymptomatic and in good health with some displaying minor symptoms. One staff member is quite ill, although not in hospital.

Owner of the creche Sharon Moyles said she felt “vilified” as news of the Covid-19 cases among staff and children filtered out.

She said the “bigger picture” was that childcare staff – which she argued are frontline workers – should be vaccinated and creches should get antigen tests.

“The Government need to be accountable. If they want us open then they need to protect us. That’s my message.”

Ms Moyles said her service had been reopened since the end of the first lockdown last summer and had no cases of Covid-19 until last week. She said the first cases were reported to her on St Patrick’s Day and she contacted the HSE helpline straight away as part of the Montessori’s Covid-19 response plan.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn described a “mixed picture” in outbreaks on Monday, citing examples of a student outbreak in Limerick, a number of outbreaks among the Irish Travelling community, a small number of outbreaks in schools, a “well-publicised outbreak” in a childcare facility in Offaly and outbreaks in meat-processing plants.

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