Coronavirus outbreaks in private houses more than treble in one week

Heath official warn of move of virus to household settings as overall cases drop

The number of outbreaks of coronavirus in private houses has more than trebled in the space of a week, new figures show.

By Thursday, there were 240 clusters of the disease, also known as Covid-19, in private houses, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), a number exceeded only by the 251 clusters recorded in nursing homes.

The increase has prompted the HPSC to resume counting outbreaks in private houses as a separate category.

A week earlier, it had recorded 266 outbreaks in “other” locations, which included private houses, community, pubs, hotels, shops, etc. By Thursday, there were 240 clusters in private houses and another 80 in the “other” category.


Public health officials warned last week the virus was moving into household settings, though the overall number of cases continues to drop.

On Thursday, there were also 186 outbreaks in residential institutions and 100 in hospitals.

In the past week, nine cases of the disease were imported through travellers arriving from other countries, the HPSC figures also show.

Meanwhile, the average number of close contacts per confirmed case of Covid-19 has increased to six, twice the level seen throughout May, data from the Health Service Executive (HSE) shows.

Testing people for the virus is taking an average of 1.2 days to complete, and 2.4 days for contract tracing to be carried out.

There were 202 Covid-19 patients in hospital on Saturday evening; 74 confirmed cases and 128 suspected cases, the latest HSE operational report shows.

The Mater hospital had the highest number of confirmed cases, at 17, while University Hospital Limerick had the highest number of suspected cases, at 34.

In intensive care, there were 27 confirmed cases and nine suspected ones. Across the system, 88 critical care beds remained free.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.