Covid-19: Pandemic death toll passes 4,000 as 57 further deaths reported by Nphet

A further 650 new cases of the virus have also been reported

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said that while we have made great progress, “the situation remains precarious”. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said that while we have made great progress, “the situation remains precarious”. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

 

The death toll in the Covid-19 pandemic has passed the 4,000 mark after 57 further deaths were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Wednesday evening.

Some 34 of these latest deaths occurred in February, 21 in January, one in December and one in November.

The median age of those who died was 82 years and the age range was 52-99 years.

It brings to 4,036 the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the pandemic.

It took about six weeks for the first 1,000 deaths in the pandemic to occur, seven months for the second 1,000, and 10 weeks for the third.

Nphet also reported 650 new confirmed cases of the disease, bringing to 211,751 the total number of cases in the Republic.

Of the new cases 325 are among males and 323 among females. Some 65 per cent are under 45 years of age.

A total of 192 of the new cases are in Dublin, 53 in Galway, 50 in Meath, 46 in Kildare, 46 in Cork and the remaining 263 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

The 14-day incidence rate is now 261.7 cases per 100,000 people nationally. The highest rate is in Monaghan at 449.6 cases per 100,000 followed by Offaly at 375.8 and Dublin at 350.9.

As of 8am on Wednesday, there were 831 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 154 are in ICU. An additional 49 people were hospitalised with the virus in the past 24 hours.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said that while we have made great progress, “the situation remains precarious”.

He said the vast majority of covid cases were now accounted for by the so called UK variant.

“Almost 90 per cent of cases in Ireland are the B117 variant. The increased transmissibility of this variant is apparent in the current profile of the disease in households, with one in three household contacts of a confirmed case testing positive for Covid-19,” he said.

“This underlines the need for people to exercise caution in households and other settings. In particular, people should isolate immediately on experiencing any symptoms and contact their GP.”

As of Sunday February 14th, 271,942 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. The figure includes 180,192 people who have received their first dose and 91,750 people who have received their second dose.

Outbreaks

New data from the HSE shows there were 200 outbreaks of the virus reported in the week ending February 13th. The overall number of outbreaks notified in the week decreased by nine compared to the week before.

The number of outbreaks in nursing homes halved from 12 a week earlier to six, while the number in residential institutions decreased from 17 to 13.

This brings to 229 the number of outbreaks in nursing homes in the third wave, of which 196 remain open. A total of 7,003 cases were linked with these outbreaks. Of those, 431 were hospitalised, nine were admitted to ICU, and 738 died.

There were also 12 new acute hospital outbreaks, down from 15 the week before.

This brings to 174 the number of outbreaks in acute hospitals in the third wave, of which 120 remain open. A total of 1,907 cases were linked with these, of which 38 were admitted to ICU and 216 died. Some 791 of these cases were reported to be a healthcare worker.

Outbreaks associated with childcare facilities, universities, or with school children and staff were down by two thirds from 15 to five. All of these were associated with childcare facilities.

There were 22 workplace outbreaks notified as compared with 29 the week before. The remaining outbreaks included those in the community (five), private houses (97), extended family (24), retail (six), other healthcare services (three), a public house (one), and travel related (three).

There were also 25 new outbreaks reported among vulnerable populations, down from 33 the week before. Some 22 of these were among Irish Travellers - the same number as the week before - while there were two in direct provision centres and one in a prison which was linked to 17 cases.

Review

Earlier it was confirmed six more people with Covid-19 had died in Northern Ireland. It brings the total number of fatalities there to 2,105.

An additional 297 people have also tested positive for the virus in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday 434 patients with coronavirus were being treated in hospitals in the North, with 53 in intensive care.

The North’s Executive is due to meet on Thursday to review the current coronavirus restrictions, which began on St Stephen’s Day and are in force until March 5th.

They are expected to discuss the reopening of schools and other plans to exit lockdown, including the reopening of non-essential retail and the hospitality industry.

The Minister for the Economy, the DUP’s Diane Dodds, told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster on Wednesday that she wanted businesses reopened “safely and sustainably” and in conjunction with the health advice.

“We cannot keep going round the merry-go-round of lockdowns,” she said.

Industry body Hospitality Ulster said the plan for exiting lockdown must be discussed well in advance to give businesses time to prepare, and ministers should work with them to get the industry ready.

“Let’s be proactive, let’s get a plan in place well in advance and fight back and accelerate the recovery,” said its chief executive Colin Neill.

“We have already been through the wringer prior to previous lockdowns and have developed a significant level of experience in relation to safety measures and understanding restrictions and how to implement them,” he said.

Carers

Meanwhile the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the North has been further extended to include carers aged between 60-64 and more people with underlying medical conditions.

This will include people over 18 with such conditions who did not receive a letter instructing them to shield or cocoon, and is expected to largely mirror those who receive the winter flu vaccine each year because of their medical conditions, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said.

Both carers and those with underlying conditions but without a shielding letter will be invited by GPs to come forward for vaccination dependent on supply.

This phase “will take several weeks to complete”, the Department of Health said, and urged people to be patient.

Carers aged between 60 and 64 can also book an appointment at one of seven regional centres in the North, as can anyone over 70 who has not yet had their first dose of the vaccine.

The Department said carers in lower age groups “can be assured that we will expand the age eligibility as soon as possible in the coming days and weeks.”

More than 400,000 people have so far received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in the North. This includes 94 per cent of those over 80 years, 88 per cent of the 75-79 age group, 75 per cent of those aged between 70 and 75 and 62 per cent of 65-69-year-olds.