Ten cases of Covid-19 detected in hotel quarantine
No deaths from Covid-19 among the over-65s recorded in a week
People arriving at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, the State’s first hotel quarantine centre. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Ten cases of Covid-19 have been detected among arrivals into the country who are being accommodated in hotel quarantine.
The figures were confirmed by the HSE on Thursday afternoon when it briefed the media on the latest position in relation to the virus.
The briefing heard the ten cases were detected among 419 people who have been tested in hotel quarantine.
The system of hotel quarantine began in late March in a bid to keep variants of concern out of the State.
Arrivals from listed countries have to quarantine in designated hotels for up to 14 days. They are tested on arrival and again after 10 days.
Niamh O’Beirne, HSE national lead on test and trace, said the countries from which those who tested positive originated have been identified and will be revealed at a later date. The HSE has not said if different variants of the disease were detected among those who had tested positive.
The number of travellers facing mandatory hotel quarantine looks set to rise substantially in coming weeks.
Meanwhile the HSE said nobody over the age of 65 died in the State from Covid-19 in the last week for which figures are available.
In the seven days to April 6th, the 13th week of the year, there were no deaths notified in that cohort which has accounted for 92 per cent of all deaths in the State during the pandemic.
This compares to 581 deaths in the second week of January.
The number of over-65s who have died has been less than 20 in each of the last five weeks, but week 13 was the first where no deaths were recorded.
HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said there had been a “big collapse” in infections and deaths among those groups that have been vaccinated.
The number of over-75s who have been infected by Covid-19 peaked in week 2 at 2,237 cases and has fallen by 95 per cent to 102 in week 13.
There were just 14 cases of the virus in nursing homes last week, a rate of 0.08 per cent, the lowest since the pandemic began.
Dr Henry said Covid-19 numbers are starting to trend down again after a period of stagnation. The five day average at 431 cases is down 18 per cent on last week.
The number of healthcare workers being infected as a percentage of the overall population has fallen from 15 per cent to 3 per cent after vaccination.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the vaccination of special school staff out of sequence should not have happened.
Staff in special schools in the Dublin and Wicklow area were among a total of 191 people who were called from a reserve list to be vaccinated on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium to “avoid wastage”.
They were vaccinated in the belief that they were a category of frontline health worker, on the basis that they worked with many high-risk children with disabilities in residential settings.
Mr Reid said he wished to apologise about the vaccination of the special school staff.
However, he said the case was not comparable to the incident where staff at the private St Gerard’s School in Bray were vaccinated following a call from the Beacon Hospital chief executive Michael Cullen.
“It is important that we don’t overtly demonise people, it is also important that we don’t celebrate where people have in a systemic way breached the system,” he stated at the HSE’s weekly press conference on Covid-19.
To date 245,000 healthcare staff have been vaccinated of whom 146,000 work directly for the HSE.
Mr Reid stated he anticipates between 180,000 and 190,000 vaccinations will be administered next week to those over the age of 70 and to those who have potentially dangerous long-term conditions.
He said a target of 250,000 vaccinations a week will not be reached until the end of April to the start of May. He said supplies could be “bumpy” for the month of April.
Mr Reid also said he expects the 11,500 vaccinators to be sufficient for the increased volumes of vaccine due this month and over the coming months.
The positivity rate in childcare facilities peaked at 11 per cent early in March and fell to 5.1 per cent in week 13.