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new hopes Holohan says 'efforts paying off' as new cases dip to 322

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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)

NEW hopes that the second Covid-19 wave is coming under control emerged yesterday as infections fell to their lowest in weeks, with 322 newly diagnosed cases.

The number of patients in hospital with the virus also dropped.

However, there were five more deaths related to Covid- 19, highlighting the toll the virus is continuing to take on older age groups.

The number of new cases in Dublin reduced to 96 yesterday, compared with 321 on Monday.

The other cases included 35 in Meath, 23 in Cork, 17 in Louth and 16 in Waterford. The remaining 135 cases were spread across 18 other counties.

As of 2pm yesterday, 296 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, including 42 in intensive care.

This compares with 322 patients in hospital with the virus on Monday and 44 in intensive care.

However, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned about any false sense of security at this point, with several weeks of the lockdown to go.

"Due to the efforts of people across Ireland, we are seeing improvements with Covid-19," he said.

"However, we must remember that maintaining this downward trend is now the most crucial thing.

behaviour

"The value of our progress depends on continuing the safe behaviour that got us to this position.

"I urge everyone to keep it up, to ensure these initial trends continue."

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The national 14-day incidence is now at 248 per 100,000. Cavan continues to have the highest incidence at 563.2, while Meath has the second highest at 482.5.

The rate in Dublin is now 227.2 per 100,000, compared with 104 in September when it was the first county to be put under Level 3 lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, a new report showing the impact of Covid- 19 on people with underlying conditions has shown that up to last Saturday, with 61,996 confirmed cases of Covid-19, nearly one in two who caught it had a pre-existing illness.

Of those with an underlying condition, 7,336 had one.

More than one in five had two and 2,459 had three.

The report shows that among 1,544 people who died, 44pc had chronic heart disease and one-third had a neurological condition such as Alzheimer's.

The third-highest category was people with high blood pressure, followed by patients with chronic respiratory disease.

Others who caught the virus and died had previously been diagnosed with cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, HIV, liver disease or obesity.

The report also highlighted how 370 pregnant women were diagnosed with the virus.

The HSE yesterday launched a free online mental health programme at www.yourmentalhealth.ie, which is part of the new national Keep Well resilience campaign launched by the Government.

The message is to access one session and progress from there.

"Never before have so many of us needed to reflect on and mind our mental well-being. These videos give steps we can all take," said Anne Sheridan, HSE Programme Manager for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

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