Coronavirus claims 19 more lives as 330 new cases reported

HSE says it will be able to test 100,000 a week by mid-May

A woman walks past a mural in the Portabello area of Dublin on Sunday.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

A woman walks past a mural in the Portabello area of Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

A further 19 people diagnosed with Covid-19 have died, the National Public Health Emergency Team disclosed on Sunday.

There have now been a total of 1,303 deaths associated with the disease in Ireland, it said in its latest update this evening.

Another 330 new confirmed cases were also reported. This brings the total number of cases to 21,506.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight on Friday in relation to 21,064 cases, reveals 58 per cent are female and 42 per cent are male.

The median age of confirmed cases is 49 years, while 2,825 cases (13%) have been hospitalised. Of those, 363 cases have been admitted to ICU.

A total of 6,068 cases are associated with healthcare workers. Dublin has the highest number of cases at 10,406 (49% of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,242 cases (6%) and then Cork with 1,164 cases (6%).

Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 63 per cent, close contact accounts for 34 per cent, travel abroad accounts for 3 per cent.

In its weekly briefing on Sunday morning the Health Service Executive (HSE) said the rate of testing for Covid-19 had increased to 12,000 a day and the target of 100,000 tests a week will be achieved by mid-May.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid added that by May 18th, the day Ireland will begin re-opening under the Government roadmap, tests would be at the target of 100,000 a week and results would be available within three days of referral and within two days of the swab having been taken.

With the number of patients in ICU falling below 100, Mr Reid said the trend was positive “but it’s far too early to make any judgements”.

People are beginning to return to GPs for general care, having previously expressed a fear of infection, he said.

According to Mr Reid, 241 private hospital consultant have now signed up to work in the public sector during the crisis. He said the original plan was for private hospitals to be used to accommodate an anticipated surge in cases. Now that this had not materialised private and public hospital capacity would be used to see patients on waiting lists.

Earlier, the North’s department of health reported five new deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities in Northern Ireland to 381.

The department also reported that 78 more people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,767.

So far, 29,629 people have been tested for the illness, also known as Covid-19, in Northern Ireland.

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