Recent rise in older age groups contracting Covid-19, data shows

CSO says people aged over 65 accounted for 10% of cases last week up from 5% in August

To date almost two thirds (64 per cent) of all related deaths are in the 80 plus age group, the vast majority of whom have had underlying health conditions. Photograph: iStock

To date almost two thirds (64 per cent) of all related deaths are in the 80 plus age group, the vast majority of whom have had underlying health conditions. Photograph: iStock

 

The percentage of people in older age categories contracting Covid-19 has continued to rise in recent weeks, according to latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Those aged 65 and over accounted for 10 per cent of cases in the week ending on December 11th. That rate is up from less than 5 per cent in mid-August.

However, the median age of new confirmed cases remains relatively low, at 33 years.

The CSO’s eighteenth information bulletin on contraction and deaths since the end of February holds some stark information for older people.

Drawing information from the Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system operated by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, and other HSE data, the latest bulletin focuses largely on the week up to December 11th but gives broader statistical context.

It shows that to date almost two thirds (64 per cent) of all related deaths are in the 80 plus age group, the vast majority of whom have had underlying health conditions.

The average mortality rate in November was 12 people per 1,000 confirmed cases, down from a peak of 74 in April, “but higher than in recent months due to the rise in cases among older groups”.

The average hospitalisation rate in November was 64 people per 1,000 confirmed cases, down from a peak of 192 in March, but again higher in recent times due to increases in the older population.

“As cases in older groups have increased in recent weeks, the hospitalisation rate rose to 64 in November,” the bulletin says.

Overall, there were 1,694 Covid cases in the week to December 11th, a decrease of 243 cases from the previous week. Donegal was the county with the second highest number of new cases at 156.

More than 20 people have died in each of the last nine weeks.

While Dublin has been the worst hit in terms of fatalities, infection rates have continued to fall in the capital which, for the sixth week in a row, recorded less than 1,000 weekly cases.

More than half of all confirmed cases were linked to an outbreak (two or more cases in the same location and time) - through November and December, outbreaks in hospitals accounted for 14 per cent of cases and 9 per cent in nursing homes. That is compared to 2 and 5 per cent respectively in September and October.

The average number of contacts per positive case per week was three in the given week, down from four in early October.

There were 64,061 referrals for community testing, with decreases particularly noted among the 45 - 64 age groups.

The average number of contacts per positive case per week was three, down from four in early October.