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Covid crisis Coronavirus Ireland: 11 deaths and 1,754 new cases of Covid-19

"Unfortunately, we expect this to get worse before it gets better."

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Empty streets in Dublin on New Year's Day

Empty streets in Dublin on New Year's Day

Empty streets in Dublin on New Year's Day

A further 11 people who contracted Covid-19 have died while 1,754 new cases were announced this evening.

It brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 2,248 while the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 93,532.

Validation of data at the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has resulted in the denotification of one confirmed case. This is reflected in the figure above.

As of 2pm today, 504 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, 47 of whom in ICU. There were 46 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “The most concerning trend at present is the rapidly increasing number of people being admitted to hospital - we are now admitting between 50 – 70 people a day to our hospital system. Unfortunately, we expect this to get worse before it gets better. Our health system will not continue to cope with this level of impact.

"We have also seen a significant increase in positive laboratory tests in recent days reflecting a true increase in the incidence of the disease as well as the delay in people coming forward for testing over the Christmas period. As our systems catch up with these effects it places significant pressure on our reporting system.

"We have always understood that numbers of positive tests or confirmed cases would be a less reliable indicator over the Christmas period. This is typical of infectious disease reporting annually over the two weeks of Christmas and New Year.

"What is clear are the measures that the Government has now mandated and the behaviours that we as individuals need to observe. Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care.”

The latest figures come as it was revealed that Ireland's testing system is buckling under the pressure of the third wave.

Contacts of positive cases have been told they will no longer get a test.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said symptomatic people have to be regarded as a higher priority than those who are close contacts, with demand for testing rocketing.

Close contacts of Covid-positive cases will no longer be advised to get tested themselves in a bid to take pressure off the system.

It has also learnt GPs have been told to ensure only those who require a test are referred.

One source said there had been “chaos” with many people turning up at testing centres without referral.

It comes against the backdrop of rising intensive care numbers and deaths linked to the disease.

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