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Health fears Public called to take Covid-19 seriously as new daily testing record reached

HSE boss Paul Reid said people needed to adhere to public health guidance to avoid further restrictions.

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HSE chief executive Paul Reid has called on the public to take Covid-19 seriously as a new record number of testing was reached (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

HSE chief executive Paul Reid has called on the public to take Covid-19 seriously as a new record number of testing was reached (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

HSE chief executive Paul Reid has called on the public to take Covid-19 seriously as a new record number of testing was reached (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

A “call to arms” has been issued to the public to take Covid-19 seriously after a new daily record of testing for the virus was reached.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said people need to respond to upward trends in cases by limiting their social contacts in a bid to supress the virus.

More than 19,000 tests for Covid-19 were carried out on Thursday, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began.

“If anybody’s looking at the trends and the numbers coming through right now, it’s quite serious,” Mr Reid told Newstalk Breakfast on Friday.

“We had over 19,500 tests completed yesterday which is a record from any time we’ve ever been doing anything.

“That’s the volume we’re at, the trend we’re seeing and that’s the concern.

“People need to now take a radical look at everything we’re doing.

“I really mean it.

“That means just don’t meet people you don’t need to meet in the next two weeks.

“It’s that simple.”

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Social distancing signs in Phoenix Park, Dublin (Aine McMahon/PA)

Social distancing signs in Phoenix Park, Dublin (Aine McMahon/PA)

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Social distancing signs in Phoenix Park, Dublin (Aine McMahon/PA)

Mr Reid also highlighted the importance of people not meeting others indoors, adding that if everyone did the right thing it could make a difference.

The chief executive said signs of stabilisation in Dublin were providing “some encouragement” but overall the infection numbers in the capital were still a “real concern”.

A further 506 cases of Covid-19 were notified to the Department of Health on Thursday along with one further death linked to the virus.

Of the new cases 91 were in Dublin, 76 in Cork, 53 in Donegal, 42 in Meath and the remaining 244 cases are located across 21 counties.

On Friday there were 171 people in hospital with the virus including 27 people in ICU.

A total of 41 ICU beds were available across the country.

He said hospitals were not on the verge of being overwhelmed, they were coping at present, but that it was a challenge.

“We’re all on the same page that our hospital service is challenged, but we’re watching it very closely on a daily basis – and we do want to keep all of the other services going,” said Mr Reid.

He added that there was capacity to scale up capacity of ICU beds if needed but that would mean stopping some other health services and that it not something anyone wanted to do.

He also said the HSE and Nphet were “hugely aligned” over their concern over the trends and they were both equally worried about the impact of a complete lockdown on society.

Mr Reid told the radio programme he believed the country could avoid moving to level four or five restrictions if people took the matter seriously.

“The biggest impact whether we’re at level three, four or five is what the people do,” he said.

He added: “Let’s move the debate from more ICU beds, more ICU beds, to what we can do individually and my view is if we galvanise strongly over the next two weeks we can turn this around.”

Online Editors