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Ireland under Level 5 restrictions; significant rise in hospitalisation due to COVID-19

DUBLIN: Just as health experts have warned the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is on the rise. Yesterday, 744 more people were diagnosed with the virus infection and 4 deaths were confirmed. However, NPHET believes that this does not reflect the actual number of infections.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, believes that the figures for COVID-19 victims are inaccurate due to the lower number of tests carried out on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day. “We expect, therefore, to see a large increase in cases reported over the coming days,” he said.

In the last 24 hours alone, more than 50 people have been hospitalised due to COVID-19. Concerns have been raised that the rate of infection could skyrocket in many counties, including Donegal.

Of yesterday’s 744 cases, 243 were in Dublin. Cork has the second-highest number of cases with 131 followed by Limerick with 51, Wexford with 40 and Donegal with 33. The remaining 243 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 in Ireland is 209.6. At the same time, the incident rate in Donegal is double the national rate (425.9). Three other counties have a 14-day rate above 300 – Wexford at 348.6, Limerick at 334.5 and Louth at 305.7.

Dr. Holohan said the current situation in hospitals is a reminder of the severity of the disease. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of hospitalisations in the last two weeks from less than 190 to 324 today,” he said.

“This indicates a deteriorating disease trajectory nationally and is a significant reminder of the severity of this disease. There have been further increases across key indicators of COVID-19 right across the country and the growth rate of the epidemic has accelerated in recent days,” he said. Dr. Holohan reminded people not to have visitors over and not to visit friends or family unless providing essential care.

Country is back to level-5 restrictions

Meanwhile, the country has re-entered level 5 restrictions from yesterday to curb the sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Travel outside the county is not permitted. Inter-county travel is only allowed for essential purposes such as attending medical appointments, providing care or if your work is considered essential and cannot be done from home.

People are allowed to visit only one household. The government also suggests that they should stay in one household until 31 December. All the shops are open but they have been asked not to sell as they normally would in January. Restaurants, gastropubs, hairdressers and barbers are closed.

A public health expert, DCU Professor of Health Systems, Dr. Anthony Staines said things will “hopefully” be back to normal by Christmas 2021.

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