Covid-19: 11 further deaths and 420 new cases confirmed in the State
Of 532 people to quarantine in hotels in past three weeks, 18 tested positive for Covid-19
Of the 18 positive Covid-19 cases in mandatory hotel quarantine to date, four involved variants of concern. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
A further 11 deaths of Covid-19 patients have been reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), as sources indicated the 545,000 extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to arrive from the end of April.
Three of the deaths occurred in April, one in March, two in February and five in January or earlier.
Those who died ranged in age from 77 to 94 years and the median age was 88.
This brings to 4,831 the total number of deaths in the pandemic.
Nphet also reported 420 confirmed cases of the disease, bringing to 242,819 the total number of cases in the Republic.
Of the new cases, 147 were in Dublin, 41 in Meath, 33 in Donegal, 26 in Galway and 18 in Limerick, with the remaining 155 cases spread across all other counties.
The 14-day incidence of the disease now stands at 119 cases per 100,000 people nationally. Offaly has the highest county incidence, followed by Kildare. Sligo has the lowest incidence.
The median age of cases is 32 years and 74 per cent are under 45.
On Friday morning, 190 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 53 were in ICU. There were 12 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.
The HSE vaccine portal opened on Friday for those aged 68 to 69. A spokeswoman said that as of lunchtime, 17,600 people had registered, bringing the total number of registrations to over 56,000.
Those aged 69 had been invited to register from Thursday.
Well-placed sources said early indications were the 545,000 extra doses of Pfizer would come on top of existing deliveries scheduled from the end of April, likely rising incrementally across the following weeks.
Such a development would aid the vaccination programme after fears deliveries of the extra doses could be weighted towards the end of the second quarter of the year.
In Northern Ireland, one more person with Covid-19 has died, the North’s Department of Health reported on Friday. It brings the total number of fatalities recorded by the department to 2,133.
A further 119 people tested positive for the virus.
As of midnight on Thursday 69 people with Covid-19 were receiving treatment in the North’s hospital, with nine in intensive care.
Earlier on Friday, it was announed by the Department of Health that the Red Cow Moran Hotel has been added to the locations to be used for the mandatory hotel quarantine amid efforts to increase capacity as more countries have been added to the list of those deemed “high risk” for Covid-19.
There are now six hotels in Dublin on the list including five from the Tifco group with capacity set to grow to 1,607 rooms by Monday, April 26th.
That’s up from four hotels originally listed.
Bookings were suspended earlier this week amid fears about capacity and some passengers arriving into Ireland without arranging a room beforehand.
However, the system reopened for bookings for people arriving from Saturday.
Tifco has confirmed the addition of 305 rooms from Saturday, bringing the capacity to 959 rooms.
By Friday next week the capacity is to stand at 1,189 rooms.
The Red Cow Moran Hotel is not listed among Tifco properties on its website and it is unclear if an additional operator has been brought into the system or what arrangements have been made for its use.
The Department of Health has not immediately responded to a query from The Irish Times.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Friday afternoon provided an update on the mandatory hotel quarantine system, which has been in operation for 21 days.
As of Thursday evening 377 people had completed quarantine and there are 532 people in a designated facility.
The existing capacity of the system is 654 suggesting there are 122 rooms free.
The department said that the majority of people arriving in to quarantine are coming through Dublin Airport having arrived from or transited through a designated state.
As of April 15th there were 18 occupants who received a positive Covid-19 test, of which four are possible variants of concern.
Overall there have been 907 bookings into the mandatory hotel quarantine system.
Of these, 87 were for March, 720 in April, 94 in May, and six in June.
The department said: “Overall, passenger figures from designated states have fallen since the mandatory hotel quarantine policy was introduced.”
Mr Donnelly said: “My Department continues to work with all State stakeholders and with Tifco Hotel Group on this policy, with the shared aim of protecting Ireland from the importation of Covid-19, particularly variants of concern. The Government is committed to protecting public health as a matter of urgency.”
He said: “Alongside the very many dedicated staff in Tifco Hotel Group, we are all working to ensure that those who enter mandatory hotel quarantine are comfortable and secure as they comply with the public health advice for all of our benefit.
“The operation of each designated facility is supported by trained Tifco hotel staff, medical personnel, and security guards, as well as the State Liaison Officer, who continue to increase their staffing numbers at each hotel.”
Mr Donnelly thanked people who have entered mandatory hotel quarantine.
He said: “I am keenly aware that completing quarantine is a significant undertaking and an important action to protect the population.”
This commitment to safeguarding both public health and also the progress of our Covid-19 vaccination programme should be commended.”