Coronavirus in Ireland: Five charts show the latest surge in cases

ireland
Coronavirus In Ireland: Five Charts Show The Latest Surge In Cases
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Tomas Doherty

Officials are alarmed by the latest rise in coronavirus infections in Ireland. The past seven days saw more than 15,000 newly diagnosed cases.

The national rate of new infections is now almost six times higher than one month ago in early December.

Our charts show all areas of the Republic are affected by this new surge and health services are facing weeks of increased pressure.

Border counties are particular hotspots, with Monaghan, Louth and Donegal among the worst hit. Every county has seen a sharp uptick in cases, despite reaching low levels before lockdown restrictions eased on December 1st.

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Recent infection rates are starkly different from one month ago.

On December 2nd, Monaghan had a 14-day incidence rate of 109.1 cases per 100,000 people. One month later and the rate is almost 10 times higher, with 1,060.5 recorded on January 2nd.

The rate of new infections in Co Sligo is now more than 12 times higher than in early December, with an incidence of 51.9 jumping to 648.5 in one month.

Test positivity rates have also shot up since the easing of restrictions in the run-up to Christmas. On December 9th, 2.4 per cent of those tested over the previous seven days got positive results.

Now more than 20 per cent receive a positive result, a proportion not seen since April when the State was testing far fewer people.

Irish labs processed more than 154,000 tests over the last week.

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The increasing caseload is adding to pressure on the State's hospitals, with daily admissions of Covid-19 patients now nearing the spring peak.

According to data published on Monday morning, 744 patients are in hospital with the disease. This compares with 881 patients recorded at the height of the first wave on April 15th.

This comes as the head of the health service warned there could be between 1,500 and 2,000 Covid-19 cases in hospital in a few days' time.

Paul Reid said 3,000 healthcare staff were currently isolating after testing positive for the virus or coming into close contact with a confirmed case.

He warned the daily number of positive Covid-19 tests will reach 7,000 in the coming days amid “rampant” transmission levels.

On Sunday the Department of Health added a record 4,962 cases to the overall tally. The Republic has confirmed more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic.

Mass vaccination is now underway in the Republic, despite criticism of a slow start to inoculations. The last week saw more than 4,000 people receive their first dose to protect against Covid-19.

Vaccine clinics are set to be extended nationwide in the coming days. Residents and staff at 25 nursing homes are due to receive their first doses this week.

 

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