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'Steep rise' Dr Tony Holohan warns of 'concerning trend' as community transmission of Covid-19 increases

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


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)

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has expressed concern at the continued rise of coronavirus case numbers and hospitalisations in Ireland.

Dr 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 are currently 359 Covid-19 positive patients in hospital, 30 of whom are in intensive care.

Dr Holohan expressed his concern about a rise in hospitalisations.

“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 9.2pc up from 5.2pc 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, you should restrict your movements for 14 days even if your own test is reported as Covid "not detected”.”

“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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Press Association