Coronavirus: 46 more deaths, 3,086 cases reported in Republic

Higher number of fatalities likely to continue in coming days, warns Holohan

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan: ‘Unfortunately, due to the unsustainably high level of Covid-19 infection we have experienced as a country over the past few weeks, sadly these figures are likely to continue for the next period of time.’ Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan: ‘Unfortunately, due to the unsustainably high level of Covid-19 infection we have experienced as a country over the past few weeks, sadly these figures are likely to continue for the next period of time.’ Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

A further 46 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the State, the highest number of fatalities reported in one day since April.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) also reported 3,086 cases of Covid-19, bringing to 155,591 the total number of cases detected in the Republic since the pandemic began.

Two of the deaths occurred in December, the rest were in January.

It brings the total number of deaths since the pandemic began to 2,397.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said in a statement: “Unfortunately this evening we are seeing the effect of the recent surge of infections reflected in the increased mortality we are reporting.

“Unfortunately, due to the unsustainably high level of Covid-19 infection we have experienced as a country over the past few weeks, sadly these figures are likely to continue for the next period of time.”

Of the 3,086 new cases, 604 cases are in Galway, 574 in Dublin, 466 in Mayo, 187 in Cork and 138 in Limerick with the remaining 1,117 cases spread across all other counties.

The median age is 42 years, significantly higher than before, and 54 per cent are under 45 years.

On Tuesday afternoon, 1,692 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 158 were in ICU. This is three more than at the peak of the first wave last spring. There have been 128 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Unsustainable

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said the country was still seeing “unsustainable” numbers of new Covid-19 cases.

“It is reasonable to expect we will see high numbers of deaths in the days to come,” he told the RTÉ Six One News.

Irish Covid cases growth

“We are seeing some positive signs … we are seeing decreases in GP referrals, decreases in positivity rates, but we really need to keep that going,” he said.

“We need to get the really high case numbers down as quickly as possible to more manageable levels,” he said.

“What we’re still seeing, even though we’ve seen improvement, in terms of case numbers, is simply unsustainable,” he said.

The high number of new cases was continuing to put strain on the acute hospital system, he said.

A third of the people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 since the start of the year had been younger than 65, he said. “So this is affecting all ages, it’s affecting all groups in society,” Dr Glynn said.

Based on current projections the country could see between 200 and 400 people in hospital critical care units, he said.

The virus was now “everywhere in our communities” and people needed to act as if they were infected, he said.

The 14-day incidence of the disease now stands at a record 1,410 cases per 100,000 people nationally.

Monaghan has the highest county incidence, at 2,650, meaning one in every 38 people in the county is currently infected with the virus.

The five-day moving average stands at 5,596 cases a day.

The rise in fatalities comes as hospitals struggle to deal with the number of Covid-19 patients presenting.

The seven highest days of daily admissions during the pandemic have all occurred in the past seven days, putting further pressure on the health system to deal with this unprecedented crisis.

Officials said on Monday night that with case numbers stabilising at about 6,000 a day, hospitalisations will peak at 2,200-2,500 people in 10 to 14 days’ time, with 200 to 400 people in ICU.

The 1,700 people in hospital on Tuesday morning amounted to almost double the number with Covid-19 in hospital a week ago as soaring infections since Christmas have resulted in more hospitalisations.

Hospital beds

“The big ask of everyone is to stay at home and help get our hospitals and nursing homes back to safer levels. Our healthcare teams ask just this of us,” said HSE chief executive Paul Reid.

HSE figures for its hospital operations on Monday night show there were 13 hospitals in different parts of the country that had no available critical care beds.

Three hospitals had no available general beds with a further 13 hospitals each having just single-digit numbers of available general hospital beds.

St James’s Hospital in Dublin had the highest number of Covid-19 patients in critical care with 14 in ICUs, followed by the Mater and University Hospital Limerick with 11 each, and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and Galway University Hospitals with 10 each.

Thousands of health service staff are set to be redeployed and a deal allowing the use of private hospital capacity is to be triggered this week.