Covid-19: Six more deaths and another 612 cases confirmed in the State
Glynn praises health service response amid one-year anniversary of first case on island
Another 612 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in the State. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Six more deaths from Covid-19 and another 612 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the State, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) reported on Sunday.
The latest figures bring the State’s total death toll from the disease to 4,319, while a total of 219,592 Covid-19 cases have now been confirmed here.
All of the latest reported deaths occurred in February. The median age of those who died was 63, and the age range of those who died was between 41 and 86 years.
The figures reported on Sunday mark the fourth-lowest daily total of new cases since the third wave of infection began growing before Christmas.
Almost three-quarters of the latest infections were in people under the age of 45 and the median age among the new cases was 32.
Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said case numbers have reduced week-on-week for the past six weeks and the State was on track to have a Covid-19 incidence rate that was among the lowest in Europe. The numbers in hospital have fallen by 38 per cent over the past fortnight, he said.
“We still have a way to go. Our case numbers are still far too high and we must continue to do all we can to suppress this disease over the coming weeks,” he said.
“But if we can do this successfully through March, our focus will begin to turn to what we can do rather than what we cannot.”
Speaking amid the first anniversary of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 on the island of Ireland, Dr Glynn noted in a lengthy statement that more than 6,300 people on the island of Ireland had now died with the disease.
“We remember them, and their families and friends, as well as the many people who remain seriously ill or who are dealing with long-term health issues because of the disease,” he said.
He described the response of people working across the health system as “remarkable”, saying that the public should be “extraordinarily proud, and take great heart, from the dedication and resilience which has been, and continues to be, shown by everyone involved in this response”.
“Almost all sectors and communities have experienced loss and have been tested in ways unimaginable to us this time last year,” said Dr Glynn.
“The pandemic and the public health response to it has had a profound impact on lives and livelihoods. But it has also demonstrated the best of us as a people, working together and buying in as a collective to what has been necessary to protect one another.”
There were “more concrete reasons for hope and optimism now than at any time over the last 12 months”, said the deputy chief medical officer.
Evidence was mounting that Covid vaccines were not just stopping people getting sick but also helping to stop people passing the virus onto others, he said.
“While new [Covid-19] variants have brought uncertainty, the existing vaccines perform well against them and work is already under way to develop booster versions should they be required.”
Of the 612 new cases reported, there were 289 cases in Dublin, 45 in Limerick, 34 in Longford, 33 in Galway and 26 in Kildare. The remaining 185 cases were spread across 19 other counties.
There were 554 Covid-19 patients in hospital on Sunday morning, down from a high of 2,020 on January 18th. The number of Covid patients in ICU stood at 133, down from a third-wave high of 221 last month.
The latest Covid-19 vaccination figures showed that as of Thursday last 271,594 people had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and, of those, 137,935 had received their second and final dose. Almost 17,000 people had received a first dose of the vaccine over the previous 24 hours.
Just in excess of 61,000 staff and residents in nursing homes and other long-term residential care facilities had received both doses, while 76,850 healthcare workers had received two doses.
Among the third cohort currently being vaccinated – people aged 70 and over in the general population – almost 38,000 had received their first dose, with just one person in this age group receiving the two doses.
Three more healthcare staff have died with Covid-19 in recent weeks, according to the latest Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) report on coronavirus infections among workers in the health service.
It lists seven Covid-19-related deaths of healthcare workers so far in the third wave of the disease here, compared with the four such deaths that were listed in the centre’s previous report, published two weeks earlier.
The latest report was released on Friday and covers the situation up until February 20th.
A total of 15 healthcare workers, ranging in age from 30 to 65, have now died as a result of Covid-19 during the pandemic, according to the HPSC.
A total of 94 healthcare workers have been admitted to ICU with Covid-19, 803 have been hospitalised with the disease and 26,778 have had confirmed Covid-19 infections.
On Sunday, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health confirmed a further three people have died in the North after testing positive for coronavirus.
Another 136 cases of the virus have also been reported, according to the latest update from the North’s Department of Health.
Meanwhile, new figures show the incidence of Covid-19 infection in the worst affected parts of Dublin is almost six times that of the areas in the capital with the lowest levels of infection.
Dublin north central recorded more than 1,000 new cases in the two weeks up until Friday last, and had an incidence rate during the period of 654 cases per 100,000 people, compared with the 165 cases recorded in Dublin south, where the incidence rate was 121 per 100,000.
Of the 10,277 new cases recorded in total over the fortnight, just more than half were attributed to close contact with a known case. Some 1,875 involved community transmission, 372 were patients who picked up the infection in a healthcare setting and 161 were staff who picked the virus up in a healthcare setting. Just 77 cases were formally linked to travel. Additional reporting: PA