Coronavirus: 1,378 new cases confirmed in Republic as Glynn issues warning over rising incidence rate

Cases of Covid-19 could peak at 4,000 a day due to Delta, says Varadkar

Staff clean  their ambulance after bringing a patient to the Covid Emergency Department at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Staff clean their ambulance after bringing a patient to the Covid Emergency Department at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A further 1,378 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the State, according to the Department of Health, as the Tánaiste warned the Delta wave of coronavirus could peak at 4,000 cases a day.

There are 96 people in hospital with the disease, of whom 22 are in intensive care.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned of a “significant increase” in hospitalisations and intensive care admissions if incidence of Covid-19 continues to rise.

Dr Glynn has highlighted how the 14-day incidence rate has increased from 93 per 100,000 in the week of June 24th to 246 per 100,000 on Wednesday.

He says the five-day moving average of cases has increased from 300 to 1,182 cases per day over the same period.

The latest estimate of the growth rate of new cases is approximately 6 per cent to 7 per cent per day.

According to Dr Glynn, incidence is highest and increasing rapidly in those aged 19-24 and 16-18, though it is also rising in other age groups.

He says all counties have had more cases in the last seven days than in the previous seven and set out the five which have the highest prevalence of the virus: Donegal has 725 per 100,000; Louth is 474 per 100,000; Dublin is at 307 per 100,000; Limerick stands at 258 per 100,000; and Galway has 257 per 100,000

Dr Glynn said the total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospital has increased, while the seven-day average of daily admissions to intensive care units “may be starting to increase off a low baseline”.

He said: “Changes in the number of people admitted to hospital and to ICU lag behind changes in the disease profile in the community.

“We will see a significant increase in both over the coming weeks if incidence continues to rise.”

In a series of posts on Twitter Dr Glynn also said there is welcome news in the opening of the vaccine registration portal for people aged between 18 and 24 and he encouraged people to sign up.

He also appealed to people to continue to follow public health advice saying “the basic measures remain as important and effective now as at any point in the pandemic and remember no one measure is sufficient by itself”.

Dr Glynn said: “When you meet people, keep your distance and meet outside” and advised people to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

He said: “Use your judgement, risk assess and leave if you don’t feel safe.”

He reiterated the advice to wash hands and wear a mask and said that people with symptoms should isolate and get a test rather than going to work or socialising.

According to the Department of Health, more than 65 per cent of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated, and 75 per cent have received at least one dose.

Delta peak

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said earlier on Wednesday that he expects the fourth wave of Covid-19, driven by the Delta variant, to peak at 3,000 to 4,000 cases per day but with very low hospitalisation and death numbers.

“We are well into the Delta wave. Nobody knows for sure how this is going to turn out,” he said on Wednesday.

“I suppose I am taking the optimistic view that we are taking the same course as Scotland and maybe peaking at 3,000 or 4,000* cases a day then falling back.

Speaking following Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, the Tánaiste said the big difference between this wave and the Alpha wave last January was the impact of vaccinations on hospitalisations and the mortality rate.

He said the mortality rate, of between 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent, was 10 times lower than that of Alpha, which meant between one or two deaths per 1,000 cases, compared with between 10 and 20 per 1,000 for Alpha.

“It is different because of the vaccination programme. The case mortality ratio for Delta is one-tenth of what it was for Alpha. (So) 2,000 cases a day will be more like 200 cases a day back in January (in terms of magnitude and serious illness).

“We are not quite so sure when it comes to hospitalisation. We are not sure of the ratio.

“I think we will follow the course of the Netherlands, Portugal and Israel, who are ahead of us in the Delta wave. We could see hospitalisations of 400 to 500, and ICU admissions in or around 50.

“If that is the case it is manageable. We have 900 more hospital beds than we had a year ago,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the surge associated with the Delta variant will present a challenging period ahead.

He added that there would be no reverse of the decisions to reopen the economy and society.

“As of now, we will consolidate what we have so far in terms of reopening sectors of the economy and society. I am appealing to people not to underestimate the transmissibility of the Delta variant.

“We have seen in Holland and Scotland, where there have been specific spikes,” he said.

He said there was still uncertainty around numbers and the public health experts in Ireland were not certain how this would play out.

Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health reported two more coronavirus deaths on Wednesday.

This brings the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland to 2,166. There were seven Covid deaths in the last seven days compared with three deaths in the previous week.

The department also reported 1,973 new positive cases of the virus.

There are now 134 patients receiving coronavirus treatment in Northern Ireland’s hospitals, with eight in intensive care and three on ventilators. Hospital bed occupancy is at 104 per cent.

So far 2,175,663 vaccinations have been administered in Northern Ireland with 1,187,005 on their first jab and 988,658 who have been double-jabbed.

*This article was amended on July 21st, 2021