Covid-19: One further death and 434 new cases reported by Nphet

National Ambulance Service to double its capacity from next week to speed up vaccines to the housebound

 The  Tullamore pop up Covid-19 test centre. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The Tullamore pop up Covid-19 test centre. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

One further death from Covid-19 has been reported on Friday evening, along with 434 new cases of the virus.

There have now been a total of 4,867 Covid-19 related deaths reported in the pandemic and 245,743 confirmed cases of the virus.

Of the new cases notified on Friday some 228 are among men and 204 are among women with 74 per cent of cases under 45 years of age.

Most of the new cases are in Dublin. A total of 217 cases were reported in Dublin, followed by 30 in Kildare, 30 in Cork, 27 in Limerick, 21 in Donegal and the remaining 109 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

As of 8am on Friday, there were 166 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 48 were in ICU. There were 17 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile latest vaccination figures show that 1,275,828 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the State with 904,774 people having received their first dose and 371,054 having received their second one. The figures were up to date as of Wednesday.

Housebound

Following reports that about 1,000 housebound people over the age of 70 have still not received a first dose of their vaccine the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Friday evening said he had spoken to the HSE and a dedicated system is being put in place to ensure all those awaiting a vaccination at home will be contacted in the coming days.

“I would like to reassure individuals and their families who are still awaiting vaccination, the HSE will make direct contact with them and we will administer the vaccine within a three week period,” he said.

“In addition, the National Ambulance Service will double its capacity from next week in order to accelerate the delivery of vaccines. I want to thank the national ambulance service for their work on this part of the programme in the past number of weeks,” he added.

Mr Donnelly noted there is a requirement to spend over 30-40 minutes at each residence. “In around 10 per cent of cases visits can take up to 50 minutes due to medical histories which require a 30-minute observation period. As the people to be vaccinated are dispersed across the country it can also take ambulance staff a considerable amount of time per visit to reach their destinations”.

He said the National Ambulance Service has been working hard to process a high volume of referrals received for the programme. It is operating a seven-day service and is undertaking around 400 appointments per week (50-60 daily).

The Minister expects all first doses will have been given to those who are housebound in May, with second doses to be completed in June.

The issue of how many housebound people were still awaiting vaccines was raised in the Dáil on Thursday.

New test sites

Separately details of new walk-in Covid-19 test centres which are to open across the country this weekend were outlined by the HSE.

One will open in the Mayflower Community Centre, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim on Friday and will be followed by a test centre at the offices of the Irish Wheelchair Association in the Glebe, Dublin Road, Tuam, Co Galway from Monday morning.

Walk-in testing will also be available over the coming days at the static testing sites in Letterkenny, Co Donegal; Castlerea, Co Roscommon; Nenagh, Co Tipperary and Kilcohan, Co Waterford.

Walk-in testing has been available in the testing centres in Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Tralee, Co Kerry and Dunmanway, Co Cork since earlier this week, and this will continue into next week.

The walk-in centres, which are for asymptomatic people who want a Covid-19 test, have been opening around the country at different sites since late March.

The service will operate alongside the testing service for those who are symptomatic or close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19 and who are referred for a Covid-19 test by their GP.

Walk-in Covid-19 testing in existing sites in Coolock, Mulhuddart and the Liberties in Dublin will continue over the coming days also, the HSE said.

The Coolock centre in the Parnells GAA club will remain open until Sunday. The Mulhuddart walk-in test centre will also remain open for the same period.

The Liberties test centre located in St Catherine’s Community Sports Centre Marrowbone Lane will have its opening period extended and remain open until Thursday, April 29th from 11am to 7pm.

HSE national lead for testing and tracing Niamh O’Beirne said the walk-in test centres help to better understand the nature of transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

“As of Thursday evening over 40,000 people have had a Covid-19 test in one of our walk-in centres.

“The overall positivity rate to date is 3.3 per cent which equates to 1,261 people testing positive for Covid-19 as a result of getting a test in one of the HSE’s walk-in test centres,” she said.

“This programme of targeted testing of asymptomatic people across many communities has meant that those who have tested positive for Covid-19 can take the necessary actions to protect those around them,” she added.

The test centres are:

Wicklow - Killadreenan Community Testing Centre (Eircode:A63 CD30) open for walk-in appointments from Friday, April 23rd for seven days from 10am to 5pm.

Waterford - Kilcohan Test Centre, Kilcohan (Eircode: X91 EY73) open for walk in appointments from Saturday April 24th for seven days from 10am to 6pm.

Donegal -St Conal’s, Letterkenny, Co Donegal (Eircode: F92 TD92) open for walk-in appointments from Saturday April 24th for seven days from 9.30am to 6pm.

Roscommon - Castlerea Fire Station, Castlerea, Co Roscommon (Eircode F45 PX 84) open for walk-in appointments from Tuesday April 27th for seven days from 10am to 5.30pm.

Tipperary - Former Castlebrand Factory, Tyone, Nenagh (Eircode: E45 TY04) opens for walk-in appointments from Tuesday April 27th for seven days from 8.30am to 6.30pm.

Walk-in testing is already taking place at the following static test centres and this will continue as follows:

Cork - Randal Óg GAA Club, Dunmanway (Eircode- P47 YC58)- to remain open until Tuesday April 27th from 9am to 5pm.

Westmeath - St Lomans Campus, Delvin Road, Mullingar (Eircode: N91 X363) to remain open until Tuesday April 27th from 9am to 5pm.

Kerry - Ballymullen Barracks, Ballymullen, Tralee (Eircode: V92 C996) to remain open until Tuesday April 27th from 9am to 5pm.