Coronavirus: Ireland still experiencing sharp, worrying increase in cases, says Glynn

Reproduction rate of Covid-19 has fallen slightly this week, from 1.8 to 1.6

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer, outlined the new figures. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer, outlined the new figures. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

 

The reproduction rate of Covid-19 has fallen slightly this week, from 1.8 to 1.6, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

On Wednesday evening, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn announced 40 new reported cases of the virus and one newly reported death which occurred a number of weeks ago.

Professor Philip Nolan of Nphet’s modelling advisory group warned that while 40 new cases might seem positive compared to recent days’ caseloads, Ireland is still experiencing a sharp and worrying increase in the spread of the virus.

The national five day average for new cases is now at 75 per day. Even excluding the three counties at the centre of the virus’s resurgence, Kildare, Laois and Offaly, the five day average stands at 31. This is over three times the-five day average reported in mid-June.

“In light of this I ask people to hold firm and continue to closely follow public health advice,” Prof Nolan said. “It’s important we remember this is a long game.”

He warned that while the reproduction rate of the virus has dropped from 1.8 to 1.6, this is a very hard metric to judge accurately because of the fluctuating nature of recent cases. A reproduction number of one means the virus is in remission in the community.

Hospitalisations remain stable, despite increasing transmission rates with an average of one or two people being admitted per day last week.

There are currently 13 people in hospital with Covid-19, with six of those receiving critical care.

Twenty one of Wednesday’s cases were in men and 19 were in women. Under 45s accounted for 75 per cent of the cases.

Nineteen related to close contacts with another person or cluster while thirteen related to community transmission and are being investigated by contact tracers.

Dublin accounted for 12 cases, Kildare 11 and Offaly seven, with the rest spread out across Clare, Donegal, Limerick, Meath, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow.

About 71 per cent of cases in the last week relate to clusters, mostly in workplaces or homes. Some 16 per cent of cases are confirmed community transmissions and two per cent relate to travel into the country.

There have now been 26,838 cases of Covid-19 in the State since the start of the pandemic.

Nphet said the restrictions imposed on the three countries appear to working in preventing the spread of the surge but warned county boundaries provide no protection on their own and that it is up to citizens to follow the rules.

Dr Glynn said there are no new clusters which are causes of significant concern and all related to less than five cases.

He echoed Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s view that school reopenings next month will almost inevitably lead to new cases among children.

“This is an infectious disease that spreads when people come together.” He said it was a matter of balancing risk.

Earlier the North’s Department of Health reported 29 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in Northern Ireland to 6,217.

In its daily bulletin on Wednesday afternoon it recorded no new Covid-19 deaths, leaving the death toll in the North at 557.

In the past seven days it reported 204 new cases of coronavirus.

So far 163,986 people have been tested for the virus in Northern Ireland.