Weekly Covid cases fall for fourth consecutive week, figures show

Nphet reports 1,413 confirmed cases of Covid-19 while North records five more deaths

The number of Covid-19 cases in the State fell last week, for the fourth week in a row, according to the latest figures but the situation in North has prompted Minister of Health Swann to request additional help from the military.

In the Republic, the incidence of the disease continues to fall in all age groups except primary schoolchildren and, to a lesser extent, children aged under five.

The seven-day incidence was 350.3 cases per 100,000 people among children aged 5-12, almost twice the overall incidence of 196.7.

Last week was the first full week after schools reopened in the autumn. “Similar increases were observed in this age group when primary schools reopened in September 2020 and in February/March 2021 and may reflect increased testing of mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic children,” according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.


Case numbers among second-level schoolchildren, many of whom are vaccinated, fell sharply; the incidence for 12-17-year-olds was 261 last week, down from 335 the previous week.

There were 40 school outbreaks last week, up from 17 the previous week.

There were 364 cases among healthcare workers last week, out of a total of 9,365.

Some 306 cases were related to travel, 59 involved a patient who acquired the disease in a healthcare setting and 68 were staff who were infected in a healthcare setting.

Monaghan, Donegal and Longford have the highest county incidences, while the lowest are to be found in Wicklow, Wexford and Cork.

Almost 162,000 tests were carried out, the highest level since the start of the year. However, positivity levels continued to fall, to 6.2 per cent.

Over the course of the pandemic, 5,171 deaths of people with Covid-19 have been recorded, including 18 healthcare workers. The mean age of deaths was 80 years and 87 per cent had underlying conditions.

Seven deaths were among people aged under 25, and 13 were among those aged 25 to 34 years.

There have been 2,108 deaths in nursing homes.

Cases among children account for 5.9 per cent (74,186) of all cases during the pandemic, and 20.3 per cent in the current wave.

Meanwhile, a further 1,413 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Thursday. As of 8am on Thursday, 290 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, of which 67 were in ICU.

Five further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland where the Department of Health has asked for further help from the military with containing the pandemic.

Minister of Health Robin Swann described the health service as “under pressure as never before”, adding that staff are “exhausted”.

“I am determined to activate any measure that can alleviate the situation in any way,” he said.

A decision over the request for up to 100 armed service medics is expected to be announced next week.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said they could confirm that an official request for Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) has been made by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, and is “currently under consideration”.

It is hoped the personnel could be deployed between Belfast City Hospital and the Ulster Hospital from October.

The North’s Department of Health said there had also been 1,071 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

On Thursday morning, there were 425 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 38 in intensive care. – Additional reporting: PA

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

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