Covid-19: 2,608 cases, 51 additional deaths

ireland
Dublin city center during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Muireann Duffy

The Department of Health has been notified of 2,608 new cases of Covid-19 and 51 additional deaths.

Of today's cases, 1,230 were men, 1,346 were women and 55 per cent were under the age of 45.

Dublin recorded 1,019 cases, while there were 204 in Cork, 135 in Donegal, 132 in Galway and 131 in Kildare. The remaining 987 cases were spread across all other counties.

Ireland's national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 is now 1,141, with 54,318 cases recorded in the past two weeks.

According to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), there are now 1,943 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, 214 of whom are in Intensive Care Units. In the past 24 hours, 105 people have been admitted to hospital with the virus.

Speaking at this evening's Nphet briefing, Professor Philip Nolan said the positivity rate of tests has now fallen to 11.7 per cent, with the community positivity rate now at approximately 13 per cent.

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He estimated the reproductive, or R number is now in the region of 0.5 to 0.8, showing the transmission of the virus is now declining.

Prof Nolan added that while he was happy to report a fall in the incidence of the virus, reducing by approximately 7 to 8 per cent each day, he warned there continues to be "exceptional high levels [of Covid-19] in the community".

In the North today, 732 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded, with 21 additional deaths.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Ireland is "nowhere near" easing Level 5 restrictions, but added schools may be able to reopen in February.

Mr Varadkar's comments came after the publication of Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan's letter to the Minister for Health, dated January 14th, in which he warned Ireland could see up to 1,000 Covid-related deaths this month.

"We are seeing rapidly increasing incidence in long-term care settings and vulnerable groups.

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"The marked impact of widespread transmission is being observed in both the number and scale of new outbreaks occurring in health and social care settings, including in acute hospitals and long-term residential care facilities," the letter read.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid echoed Dr Holohan's unease, saying the Covid-19 situation in Irish hospitals is at the “highest level of concern” since the pandemic began.

Speaking at the HSE's weekly briefing, Mr Reid said all healthcare systems still remain on "extremely high alert", with 43 per cent of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 being under the age 65.

The Government has also updated the Covid-10 Data Hub to show 121,900 people in the Republic have now received their first dose of the vaccine.

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