Coronavirus: 13 further deaths and 456 new cases reported in the State
Higher case number due to technical issue delaying uploading of results in recent days
Grafton Street, Dublin sees Christmas shoppers on the first Saturday following the reopening after the second lockdown. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
There were 456 new cases of Covid-19 and 13 further deaths reported in the State on Saturday. The high number of daily confirmed cases is due to an IT issue which led to an underreporting of the number of new cases in recent days. This meant a cohort of confirmed cases from recent days were only added to the national total on Saturday.
The technical issue arose on Thursday and has now been resolved, and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said the lag in uploading the case numbers had no impact on the management of the cases, or contact tracing.
There have now been a total of 2,099 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the State, and 73,948 confirmed cases.
Of the 456 reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) on Saturday, 219 were men, and 235 were women.
The median age of the cases was 39, and 59 per cent were under 45 years of age.
A total of 197 were in Dublin, 37 in Donegal, 33 in Limerick, 21 in Louth, and 20 in Kilkenny. The remaining 148 cases were spread across 21 other counties.
There were 231 Covid-19 patients in hospital as of 2pm on Saturday, with five admitted in the past 24 hours. Some 28 patients are in intensive care.
While it’s difficult to show cause and effect, there is a clear pattern over time in the nature of cases and outbreaks in the second wave in Ireland. It suggests that social contact in workplaces, hospitality and private social gatherings seeded the second wave. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/nR9CfZG00H— Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) December 5, 2020
The national 14-day incidence rate is 80.9, with 3,850 cases in the two weeks up to December 4th.
Donegal continues to have the highest incidence in the country, with 219.9 cases per 100,000 population. Louth has the second highest incidence rate at 160.6, followed by Kilkenny (159.2), Limerick (147.8), and Monaghan (122.2). Leitrim has the lowest incidence rate of the virus at 12.5 per 100,000.
It comes as restaurants and gastropubs open for their first Saturday night in for indoor dining in two months following the lifting of Level 5 restrictions with reports of a surge of bookings and limited availability. Indoor dining resumed on Friday with strong trade.
It was also the first Saturday since non-essential shops reopened and there were crowds and queues on many shopping streets and at shopping centres. As part of the reopening the Government has advised the public to wear face coverings on crowded streets. Gardaí in Dublin on Saturday said they were “conducting high visibility patrols across the city to ensure everyone feels safe this Christmas”.
On Friday assistant chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn urged people heading out this weekend to make every effort to keep safe. “Plan ahead, meet outside where possible and keep your contacts to a minimum. Avoid crowded or poorly ventilated spaces and leave if your environment doesn’t feel safe.”
The chair of the Nphet modelling group said on Saturday that the data suggested social contact in workplaces, hospitality and private gatherings “seeded” the second wave of Covid-19 cases across the country.
Prof Philip Nolan wrote on Twitter that household outbreaks were an effect not a cause.
“They are driven by the level of disease in the community. They are frequently a dead end for viral transmission. The virus gets in from the community, transmits within the home, but often does not get out and spread further.”
Meanwhile, seven further coronavirus-related deaths were reported by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health on Saturday.
The department also recorded 451 positive Covid-19 tests bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 54,628. The total number of people to have died with the virus is 1,039, according to the department.
The first 25,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine arrived in the country on Friday ahead of the beginning of the vaccination programme next week.
It is understood the first recipient will be a vaccinator who is also involved in the administration of the vaccine rollout. They are to receive the jab on Tuesday morning.
The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will initially be used to inoculate the teams of more than 800 vaccinators followed by priority groups, beginning with frontline health and social care workers. – Additional reporting: PA