Coronavirus: Nine more deaths reported in the Republic
Death toll in the Republic now stands at 1,651 with a total of 24,929 confirmed cases
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan at a press briefing on Friday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A further nine people with Covid-19 have died, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said in its latest statement on the coronavirus crisis.
Over the past week the number of deaths announced daily has been in single figures, apart from Wednesday, when 17 deaths were reported. There were zero deaths disclosed on Monday.
In its latest statement, NPHET said there had now been a total of 1,651 coronavirus-related deaths in the Republic.
A further 59 cases of the virus have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 24,929.
Available statistics from Thursday night on how the disease is spreading showed 58 per cent of cases were due to close contact with a confirmed case, 39 per cent were community transmission, and only 2 per cent were related to travel.
The figures for Thursday show that of the 24,870 cases then recorded, 7,955 were healthcare workers (32 per cent).
There was an increase of 136 in the number of healthcare cases in the week to last Thursday.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is seeking an inquiry into why so many healthcare workers are catching the disease.
Just under half of all known Covid-19 cases (48.4 per cent) are in Dublin, the latest NPHET statement shows.
The median age for all cases was 48 years, and people have been hospitalised in 13 per cent of cases. Of the 3,279 hospitalised cases, 408 have been admitted to intensive care.
The number of clusters that have been notified is 861, with the number of cases associated with these clusters being 9,916.
A cluster is defined as two cases or more, and the figures indicate the average size of a cluster is 11.5 cases.
Nursing home inquiry
Separately, the Catholic Church has called for an inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on Irish nursing homes.
In a statement, the Council for Healthcare of the Irish Episcopal Conference said it would welcome an inquiry into why the residents of nursing homes have suffered so badly during the crisis.
“We would welcome appropriate inquiries into the reasons why nursing care facilities were so badly affected,” the bishops said. “Lessons must be learned.”
Strict cocooning appears to have been an effective strategy in suppressing the virus for many elderly people, the bishops said.
“It is distressing, however, that more than half of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred in nursing care facilities. For various reasons, Covid-19 has had its most damaging impact among the residents in such settings.”
The bishops said they wanted to acknowledge the tremendous work that is being done by “our doctors, nurses, administrators, chaplains and ancillary staff in healthcare facilities across the country.
“Their tireless efforts have helped to curb the spread of Covid-19 and saved the lives of many people. Their dedication has been a source of inspiration and hope for all of us at this difficult time.”
The crisis presents an opportunity for society to reflect on where it stands in relation to the elderly and to others who are most vulnerable.
“The lessons learned will enable us to build a culture of life and care where everyone is supported and all are entitled to life-protecting services and facilities.”