Covid: 1,015 more cases as Holohan warns over workplace and social event outbreaks

Ireland completes deal with Romania for 700,000 Covid vaccines

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan (right) said: ‘Please remember that you should stay at home if you have symptoms even if you are vaccinated, because you could still transmit Covid-19’. File image:  Paddy Cummins /Collins Dublin

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan (right) said: ‘Please remember that you should stay at home if you have symptoms even if you are vaccinated, because you could still transmit Covid-19’. File image: Paddy Cummins /Collins Dublin

 

A further 1,015 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the State.

The Department of Health said as of 8am on Tuesday, 178 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 29 were in ICU.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “Public health doctors around the country are reporting that outbreaks are being notified to them that originated in symptomatic people attending workplaces, or eating out, or visiting friends.

“Please remember that you should stay at home if you have symptoms even if you are vaccinated, because you could still transmit Covid-19. Together as a country, we need to keep on top of all the positive behaviours that limit the spread of disease, and integral to this is staying at home if you have any cold or flu symptoms.

“Don’t drop your guard, because heading into work or meeting a friend while experiencing fever, cough, cold/flu symptoms, or loss of sense of smell/taste – that could be the beginning link that sets off a chain of transmission that leads to an outbreak in your community.”

The latest figures came as Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland had completed a deal for 700,000 Covid vaccines from Romania.

The extra vaccine doses will come as a “welcome boost to our rollout,” Mr Martin tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.

The doses announced this week are part of the same deal already announced in early July, which was then to cover 1 million vaccines.

In Northern Ireland, six further deaths linked to Covid 19 were reported on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll in the North to 2,205.

Another 1,082 people tested positive for the virus in Northern Ireland, bringing the overall number of positive cases since the start of the pandemic to 159,471.

Stormont’s department of health said there were 224 infected patients in hospitals, of which 37 were in intensive care.

Romanian deal

The 700,000 additional vaccines for Ireland are all Pfizer, with the status of 300,000 Moderna vaccines initially included in the scope of the Romanian deal unclear at present.

Mr Martin said the deal was struck with “Romania/EU”, adding it was “Fantastic news and a welcome boost to our rollout, which continues to experience huge support and uptake from the Irish public”.

It is understood that the deliveries will come from the Pfizer factory in Belgium, rather than from Romania, as deliveries had ceased. Work is ongoing on the 300,000 Moderna doses originally included in the 1 million.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the additional 700,000 vaccines were expected to arrive in Ireland this month.

“On behalf of the Government, I wish to sincerely thank our colleagues in Romania, including His Excellency President Iohannis and his officials. The agreement underlines the benefits of European solidarity with regards to vaccine procurement,” Mr Donnelly said.

“More than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been distributed across the European Union. The increased availability of vaccine supply has enabled Ireland to accelerate its vaccination programme over recent months and this week is expected to see the six millionth dose administered in Ireland since the vaccination programme began.”

Earlier, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said his expectations were “outstripped” when more than 30,000 Covid-19 vaccines were administered at walk-in centres over the bank holiday weekend.

He paid particular tribute to the many young people who availed of the opportunity to get a first dose of a vaccine against coronavirus.

“Over 30,000 people were administered a vaccination at our walk in centres the weekend. Outstripping our expectations by far. All age groups went through but this initiative makes us beyond proud of younger people. When needed, they once again showed up in numbers,” Mr Reid tweeted.

Dr Holohan described the high attendance at the weekend as “uplifting” and “extremely encouraging”.

He added: “Young people have had an exceptionally difficult time throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Their willingness to come out to get vaccinated in droves is another example of the resilience they have shown throughout this challenging time.

“It is this same spirit of solidarity, commitment to keeping our whole community safe by getting vaccinated, and keeping to the basic safe measures such as staying at home if you feel unwell that will ultimately be our pathway out of this pandemic.”

Evaluation

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the HSE’s vaccination programme, Damian McCallion, has said that the success of the weekend’s walk-in vaccination centres will be evaluated to see if they will be repeated.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr McCallion said that the overall figure for the bank holiday weekend would be 30,000, half of whom had not been registered for the vaccine.

“Overall we’re very happy with it. It has worked very well.”

Monday was the busiest day of the weekend with 11,000 people aged over 16 availing of the walk-in vaccine facility at centres around the country. One walk in clinic remains open today in Tralee from 11am to 3pm, he added.

“We will evaluate now and see if we will do it again.”

While the majority of people attending the walk in clinics were young people, there were some from higher age groups, he said, including an 83-year-old in Sligo who availed of the opportunity to get the vaccine.

Mr McCallion pointed out that the vaccine will still be available through GPs and pharmacies and at the 42 vaccination centres around the country. “There are access options for people.”

Registration for teens aged 12 to 15 should open “in the next couple of weeks,” with an exact date to be announced later this week, said Mr McCallion.

He urged parents and guardians to “take the advice of the professionals” and make the choice to have their child vaccinated.

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