Further 2,002 Covid-19 cases reported as social and work visits increase

Research shows 62.5% of workers went to their workplace at some point last week

Almost two out of three staff have been to their workplace recently, according to new monitoring data demonstrating the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

During the previous week 44 per cent of adults, or 62.5 per cent of workers, went to their workplace at some point, the social activity measure conducted for the Department of Health found.

Social activity increased again, following a drop-off during the summer, and there were significant rises in visits to retail, hospitality venues and exercise venues.

Hospital Report

On average, one person met 4.3 others from outside their household during the previous 48 hours, but 30 per cent reported meeting no one.


Four out of 10 people had a close contact the previous day, and one-fifth made a home visit. However, almost all the additional visits and contacts were with vaccinated people, according to the analysis by the Economic and Social Research Institute.

While visits to workplaces, meetings, social visits and contacts are at their highest level since January, mitigating behaviours are on the decline.

More than one-quarter of people report not engaging in behaviours such as mask-wearing, social distancing or hand hygiene when leaving home.

The ESRI categorises one-fifth of the population as “socialisers” who visit a higher than average number of risky locations. One in eight people are classed a socialisers who rarely take precautions against infection.

New cases

A further 2,002 cases of Covid-19 were reported by the department on Friday. It said there has been an average of 1,242 cases over the last five days. The department said 354 people were in hospital with the disease, including 73 patients in intensive care.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Friday that said 67 per cent of Covid-19 patients in intensive care were not vaccinated.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health said two people with the disease had died in the last 24 hours and that 1,276 cases had been reported. There were 360 Covid-positive patients in the North’s hospitals on Friday, including 35 in intensive care.

According to the ESRI research, almost 40 per cent of people who exercised indoors said the facility they used was not well ventilated.

Sixty per cent of people felt there was some element of risk in their behaviour over the preceding 48 hours, with 11 per cent saying their behaviour was highly risky.

People associated risk with large events such as weddings or funerals, going to college and using public transport.

Generally, people leaving home recognised the risk involved, but those who went to church appeared to believe it reduced their risk of infection compared with staying at home.

Perception of risk

People’s perception of risk was driven by the number of people they met and the locations they visited, rather than the measures they took to mitigate that risk. “This discounting of mitigation behaviours contrasts with public health advice,” the ESRI notes.

Around one-third of the population remain highly worried about Covid-19, and many choose not to meet people outside their household. Even among younger people, more than 30 per cent of under-40s remain highly worried.

While more than 90 per cent have received their digital vaccine cert, one-third who went to a restaurant or pub say this was not checked.

Meanwhile, there were 15 Covid-related deaths last week, of which 14 involved people aged 65 years and older, according to the latest bulletin from the Central Statistics Office.

Cases declined 6 per cent, and the proportion of cases in children aged 14 and under also dropped, from 30 per cent the previous week to 23 per cent.

Cases among teachers and other education staff have risen to 6 per cent of all workplace cases following a third week-on-week rise.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times