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Latest figures Coronavirus Ireland: 1,110 more Covid cases confirmed but fewer patients in hospital

Hospitalisations have dropped as there are now 89 coronavirus patients in hospital and 21 in ICU

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Irish Defence Forces members Private Jason McCannon and Private Joey Heeney waiting to take Covid-19 swabs at St Peregrine’s GAA club in Mulduddart. Photo: Frank McGrath

Irish Defence Forces members Private Jason McCannon and Private Joey Heeney waiting to take Covid-19 swabs at St Peregrine’s GAA club in Mulduddart. Photo: Frank McGrath

Irish Defence Forces members Private Jason McCannon and Private Joey Heeney waiting to take Covid-19 swabs at St Peregrine’s GAA club in Mulduddart. Photo: Frank McGrath

There have been 1,110 more Covid-19 cases confirmed by the Department of Health today.

Hospitalisations have dropped as there are now 89 coronavirus patients in hospital and 21 in ICU.

This is 12 fewer coronavirus patients in hospital than was reported yesterday.

The number of people being tested for coronavirus has drastically increased and HSE Chief executive Paul Reid today said that some swabbing sites now have up to 25pc positives on testing and many counties are at 10pc.

"The more widespread it is in the community, the more it can breakthrough to those vaccinated," he added.

"For a few weeks, let's all take care, aim to see this off and reduce illness."

Over the past week there has been an increase in coronavirus cases of 88pc compared to the week before.

Incidence rates have increased in every county over the past seven days. The counties with the highest 14-day incidence rates are Donegal with 725 per 100,000 population, Louth with 474 per 100,000 population, Dublin with 307 per 100,000 population, Limerick with 258 per 100,000 population and Galway with 257 per 100,000.

Speaking today, Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: “During this spell of fine weather, we know that the vast majority of people are continuing to protect themselves and others by following the public health advice.

“This remains really important as we seek to protect as many people as possible through vaccination over the coming weeks.

"As we have said since the vaccine programme began, Covid-19 vaccines are extraordinarily effective at reducing each person’s individual risk of hospitalisation or severe disease. “Vaccines along with the core public health advice remain our pathway out of this pandemic – please avail of the opportunity to get protected through vaccination when it is offered to you."

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Yesterday the HSE confirmed it has a plan in place if its community testing demand exceeds 20,000 people a day needing a Covid-19 test.

Currently community testing levels are at 14,000 per day, a HSE spokesperson said.

Close contacts would no longer be automatically offered the gold standard PCR test, which is analysed in a laboratory.

Instead people who are close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases will be asked to do DIY antigen testing with self-swabbing at home.

They will be given a packet of five antigen tests to take home with instructions on how to use them.

They will then test themselves over subsequent days and if they are clear after 10 days they can stop restricting their movements. If they test positive they will be asked to come for a PCR test.

The plan is aimed at relieving pressure on HSE centres testing people with symptoms once a certain threshold of demand is reached.

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