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Chief medical officer’s concern as Covid case numbers continue to rise

Dr Tony Holohan said the rise comes despite lower numbers turning out for testing.

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(Brian Lawless/PA)

(Brian Lawless/PA)

(Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland’s chief medical officer has expressed concern at the continued rise of coronavirus case numbers and hospitalisations.

Dr Tony Holohan said the numbers come despite fewer people turning out for testing over the Christmas period.

On Monday, Nphet reported one further death and an additional 765 cases.

Of the latest cases, most (291) were in Dublin, 63 in Cork, 59 in Monaghan, 49 in Louth, 43 in Meath, while the remaining 260 were spread across the other counties.

There were 359 Covid-19 positive patients in hospital, of which 30 were in intensive care.

Dr Holohan expressed his concern about a rise in hospitalisations.

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Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health (Brian Lawless/PA)

“The data we are reporting today are lower than days up to December 26,” he said.

“This however results from factors related to the time of the year, such as the lower rates of attendance and referrals and presentation for testing for several days over Christmas.

“We look at many metrics when monitoring the disease severity of Covid-19.

“Today we are reporting that we have now exceeded the cumulative number of people hospitalised in this third wave than in the second. Hospitalisations have increased sharply in the last two days. This is a concerning trend which reflects the sharp increase incidence we saw in the last 10 days.

“We are also seeing a steep rise in the positivity rates in community testing with a seven day average of over 9.2 percent up from 5.2 percent on 18th December.

“This indicates that the virus is increasing its foothold out in our communities.

“This is just one more reason why we are strongly advising everyone to stay safely at home to avoid transmitting or catching this virus, as it continues to circulate widely.

“Please come forward for testing if you feel unwell. Know the symptoms of Covid-19, and do not delay in phoning your GP for advice. Self-isolate in your room if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath or change in sense of taste/smell. If you are a household contact of a confirmed case, restrict your movements until your household member receives a negative test result.

“In addition to staying at home except for essential reasons, these important individual actions will help to stop the exponential spread of COVID-19 in our communities and in turn protect the most vulnerable, our healthcare system and those who work on the frontlines.”

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