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Latest figures Coronavirus Ireland: 63 further deaths and 3,569 new cases confirmed

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There has been a further 63 Covid-19 related deaths while 3,569 new cases of the virus confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.

This brings the Covid-19 death toll to 2,460 while the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland now stands at 159,144.

According to health chiefs, five of these newly confirmed deaths occurred in November 2020, one of these deaths occurred in December 2020, and the remaining 56 occurred in January 2021. The date of death for one reported death remains under investigation.

As of 2pm today, 1,770 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 172 are in ICU. 133 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “We are seeing some early signs of progress with daily cases numbers and positivity rates.

"We can take some hope in them, but we have a long, long way to go. In the coming weeks ahead, we will need to draw upon our reserves of resilience from springtime as we can expect to see hospitalisations, admissions to ICU and mortality related to COVID-19 increase day on day.”

“The best way that we can all support one another now is to stay apart.

"Sadly, what we are seeing now is a result of the very high daily confirmed case numbers we experienced for successive weeks.

"To ensure our hospitals and loved ones remain protected, and stay alive to receive the vaccine, please continue to follow public health advice and stay home.”

“At this challenging time, it is important to remind those that need acute care that hospitals are there for those that need them. No one should ignore any worrying signs they may need medical attention, such as lumps, chest pain or other new symptoms.

"Phone your GP if you have any concerns, not just those related to COVID-19.”

Earlier today, HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor confirmed that asymptomatic close contacts are being brought back to work “as a last resort”.

The health system is under sustained pressure with the number of people in intensive care now higher than it was during the peak of the first wave.

Ms O’Connor said health officials made the decision because of the shortage of healthcare workers.

She said staff who were close contacts are being tested before they return to work and are being closely monitored.

Ms O’Connor told RTE Morning Ireland that the demand on the health system means the staff are needed to attend work.

“At the weekend we had to put a call out to staff to come into work at Letterkenny because we were under such pressure. I would see that happening in other sites,” she added.

The head of the HSE, Paul Reid, tweeted: “Our hospitals are treating 1,750 people with Covid-19 and 158 critically ill in ICU. This is a level beyond comprehension.

“But to assure everyone, our healthcare teams are taking emergency actions to sustain this within a level of control. We appreciate your support.”

The number of patients with coronavirus in intensive care jumped to 160 after the figures were updated following Mr Reid’s tweet on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, the Government said all passengers arriving into Ireland from Saturday will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken before departure.

The check must be taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Arrivals from red and grey list countries (as defined by the EU traffic light system), and all other locations outside Europe, must continue to restrict their movements for 14 days.

However, this may be lifted on receipt of a negative/not detected result of a second PCR test taken no less than five days after arrival.

Arrivals from green and orange countries will not be required to restrict their movements on arrival but must adhere to local public health guidance.

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