Coronavirus incidence improving but at slower rate, HSE says

ireland
HSE chief executive Paul Reid speaking at a media briefing. Photo: PA Media
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By Michelle Devane, PA

The Republic’s incidence of Covid-19 is continuing to improve, but “at a slower rate”, the HSE chief has said.

Paul Reid said positive signs of the impact of vaccinations for older people were beginning to emerge.

“Of the new cases notified over the past two weeks, 478 cases had the most likely transmission source of a healthcare setting,” he said.

“That is down from over 1,050 cases in the previous two weeks.

“During the same time-frame the overall number of cases reduced by 24 per cent, but the reduction in healthcare setting-acquired cases was more than double that at 52 per cent, so it would seem we are seeing some of the early benefits of vaccinations.”

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Mr Reid said hospital admissions were reducing, not at the pace he would like, but a continued trend downwards was being recorded.

He said there were 460 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital on Thursday, down 21 per cent on the same day last week, and down 78 per cent on the peak in January.

There were 108 people in intensive care units, down 22 per cent overall on the last week.

But Mr Reid said there were also 170 people receiving advanced respiratory support, many of whom would end up in ICU.

He said he was “truly grateful” for the continued support of the public the majority of whom were adhering to the public health restrictions.

But he said the actions of a smaller minority was causing “a lot of hurt and frustration for everybody, for the vast majority of the public who continue to do everything that we have been asking of them”.

The chief executive acknowledged the issues in the rollout of the vaccines in the past week, and said there would continue to be “interrupted supply lines” in the coming weeks.

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“We’ve been advised by Astra-Zeneca on changes to their committed supply lines to us over a three-week period ie last week, this week and next week,” he said.

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“We’ve been advised by Astra-Zeneca that these commitments will balance themselves out over the three-week period but we still do have concerns about it because it has been an interrupted and changing supply.

“It has particularly impacted us last week and it will do this week as well.”

Despite vaccine supply issues at GP practices in the past week, Mr Reid told the weekly Covid-19 briefing that the “vast majority” of people over the age of 85 will be vaccinated by the end of the week.

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