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Positive signs for Ireland: Decline in coronavirus infections, stabilisation of hospital admissions

DUBLIN: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said coronavirus infections are declining across the country. There is a stabilisation of hospital admissions as well. The Department of Health has confirmed 1,545 new COVID-19 cases in Ireland in the past 24 hours. There are currently 335 people hospitalised for COVID-19 treatment, 32 lesser than yesterday.

The number of people who are in ICU treatment has also decreased by 3 to become 56.  A total of 5,155 COVID deaths have been reported in Ireland so far. Of these, 43 were reported in the last week. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly yesterday announced vaccination program updates. People of age groups above 65 living in long term residential care facilities and those above 80 years of age in the community will be administered mRNA booster dose COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr Holohan remarked that the overall incidence of coronavirus infection is declining across the country. The five-day moving average is down to 1,407 and hospital, ICU admissions have stabilised. “Incidence of COVID-19 in adolescents and young adults is falling significantly and we are seeing early encouraging signs that the rate of infection plateauing in children of school going age,” he said.

This trend will be monitored by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). Dr Dr Holohan added that vaccination provides the best protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19 that would necessitate hospitalisation and help prevent death. People who have not yet received the vaccine are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccination. Dr Colm Henry, who is the HSE chief clinical officer, also said that five-day average and fourteen-day moving average was steady enough. Though the cases among the age group 19-24 are dropping, those among children has seen a rise.  

The test positivity rate among the age group 0-14 under community testing is 7%, which is lower than that of the general population. There are positive indicators that the positivity rate is stabilising or coming down. Children with symptoms should stay at home and contact the GP. The HSE has suspended walk-in facilities at testing centres and changed to an online booking system. It was introduced to avoid queues and congestion.

Yesterday, between 19,000 and 20,000 swab tests were conducted in community test centres. Meanwhile, 1,210 COVID-19 cases and six deaths were reported in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said that yesterday saw the highest number of patients waiting on trolleys to be admitted to hospital beds since the pandemic began. According to the INMO’s Trolley Watch, 413 admitted patients are waiting for hospital beds. Of these, 343 patients are waiting in emergency departments and 70 are in other wards.

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