Coronavirus: 28 more deaths and 936 new cases reported in Republic

Nursing Homes Ireland says redeployment urgent as many staff absent due to Covid-19

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, says that data provided by the Irish National Seismic Network - used to monitor earthquakes - shows an increase in population movement in recent days, despite continued coronavirus restrictions. Video: RTÉ

 

An additional 28 people have died from coronavirus in the Republic, it has been confirmed by the Department of Health.

This brings to 794 the total number of laboratory confirmed deaths in the State from Covid-19.

Validation of data at the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has resulted in the denotification of three deaths with the total figure of 794 deaths to date reflecting this.

As of 1pm on Thursday the Health Protection Surveillance Centre had been notified of 936 new confirmed cases of the disease bringing to 17,607 the total number of confirmed cases in the State.

In relation to the 794 deaths to date chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said 392 had occurred in a hospital setting. Some 50 of them had been in ICU.

Males accounted for 421 of these deaths, while females accounted for 373 with their median age 83 years.

Latest figures presented also showed there have been 319 clusters of infection in community residential facilities, 191 of which were nursing homes.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in community residential facilities now stands at 2,960 with 2,231 of these confirmed cases in nursing homes.

In all, there have been 433 laboratory confirmed deaths associated with community residential facilities, with 361 of these being residents of nursing homes.

Prof Philip Nolan of NUI Maynooth, who leads a team modelling trends in the epidemic, told a briefing at the Department of Health that it was now estimated two thirds of those who contracted Covid-19 here had recovered.

He said the virus was now heavily suppressed in the general population and the rate of growth of the disease in long term care settings was beginning to decline.

‘Slippage’

But Dr Holohan stressed there was no room for complacency. He said there was evidence there had been a bit of “slippage” in the past few days in terms of people moving beyond the restrictions in terms of traffic and so on. “We have a way to go, we have seen a significant number of cases reported today,” he said.

Research conducted on behalf of the Department of Health shows that for the first time since tracking began, only 19 per cent of people expect restrictions to end in May, while one in four expect them to end in August/September.

The nationally representative online survey of 1,270 adults conducted on Thursday, and is conducted twice weekly, reveals 52 per cent of people feel the worst of the pandemic is happening now, however, 29 per cent of people feel the worst is ahead of us.

An in-depth look at the 16,439 cases of Covid-19 reported up to midnight on Tuesday shows 56 per cent were female and 43 per cent were male. The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years.

Some 2,424 cases (15 per cent) have been hospitalised and of those hospitalised, 331 cases have been admitted to ICU.

A total of 4,545 cases are associated with healthcare workers.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 8,216 (50 per cent of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,087 cases (7 per cent).

Also on Thursday a further 13 deaths from Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland.

It brings the total number of deaths in hospital there to 263.

According to the daily update released on Thursday afternoon, 142 further positive cases have been identified too, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the north to 3,016.

Reproductive rate

In the Dáil TDs, officials and ushers stood to applaud frontline health care and other workers at 8pm for their efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 TDs including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and acting Cathaoirleach Bernard Durkan showed their appreciation at the end of a daylong debate and question and answer sessions on the Government’s handling of the crisis.

The request was made earlier by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett for the Dáil to join in the weekly minute-long session where people across the State stand at their doorstep to applaud healthcare and other frontline workers.

Earlier the Dáil was by Minister for Health Simon Harris that the reproductive rate of Covid-19 has fallen further to between 0.5 and 1.

The reproductive rate, known as R0 or R naught, had fallen to between 0.7 and one last week.

It is the rate at which the virus is transmitted and the new figure showed it was being suppressed.

He also said the numbers being admitted to hospital with the virus had also fallen from 100 a day at the beginning of April to 40 now.

Speaking during the ongoing debate on the coronavirus crisis Mr Harris said “I am pleased to inform the House today that the reproductive rate has fallen even further to between 0.5 and 1. That means that for every one person who contracts Covid-19 we now expect they will spread it to no more than one other person.”

Mr Harris said the progress was a tribute to “the solidarity of the Irish people”.

But he warned that the number was not static and the progress had been achieved by “staying apart and we need to continue to keep that distance”.

But he warned that “we are by in no means in a safe place”.

“If we had to decide on lifting measures today for tomorrow, the Chief Medical Officer advises me we would not make any changes.

“But we are working on a roadmap, which we will finalise over the next week. One which must acknowledge increased movement carries increased risk.”

Staffing

Meanwhile Nursing Homes Ireland has said urgent staffing redeployment within the health service is required to support nursing homes.

A snapshot survey of private and voluntary nursing homes across the country, undertaken on Wednesday found there are large numbers of nursing, care and other staff now unavailable due to Covid-19.

The survey found hundreds of nurses and health care assistants are absent due to Covid-19.

The heralded redeployment of staff is not manifesting on the ground, Nursing Homes Ireland said.

It’s chief executive Tadhg Daly said: “Many nursing homes are faced with a staffing crisis due to Covid-19 and it is imperative they are enabled to meet this challenge. Our nursing homes are a vital element of the health service and the commitment to redeploy health staff needs to manifest. The challenge is likely to escalate as mass testing is undertaken within nursing homes across Ireland and the number of staff unavailable increases.

“In some instances, large numbers of nursing home staff are becoming unavailable and this is placing a huge strain upon nursing homes and the staff available to them.”

There are more than 500 nursing homes in Ireland, with more than 28,000 residents.

International figures show that in other western countries, the percentage of all Covid-19 deaths arising in nursing homes, where the age of the residents, and type of care they require makes them very vulnerable to Covid-19, has been running at between 45 and 60 per cent.

News Digests

Stay on top of the latest newsSIGN UP HERE