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NPHET expressed deep concern over the recent spike in COVID-19 infection

DUBLIN: The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) expressed healthcare helplessness and concern over the increase in COVID-19 cases. Delays in reporting of COVID-19 cases and unrestricted movements of close contacts of confirmed cases are of major concern to the health department. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan has openly stated that hospitals in Ireland do not have the capacity to afford mass hospitalization of patients. HSE chief Paul Reid also validated the warning.

A further 1,754 new cases and 11 deaths were reported yesterday. At least 9,000 new cases are expected to be reported in the coming days. The CMO said it would be difficult for them to control the spread of the virus if this level continues.

“A very large volume of positive tests in recent days means there is a delay in formal reporting. In excess of 9,000 additional new cases will be reported over the coming days,” Professor Philip Nolan said.

The uncontrolled growth of COVID-19 can be seen from recent daily data. On 1 December, there were 269 new infections and on 14 December there were 264 new confirmed cases. but the number of positive cases increased to 727 on 21 December with the highest ever number today at 1,754.

The 14-day incidence rate of the virus in Ireland rose to 321.3 per lakh. The death toll so far is 2,248 and the total number of COVID-19 cases is 93,532.

The CMO pointed out that “the most concerning trend at present is the rapidly increasing number of people being admitted to hospital – we are now admitting between 50–70 people a day to our hospital system.”

“We have also seen a significant increase in positive laboratory tests in recent days reflecting a true increase in the incidence of the disease as well as the delay in people coming forward for testing over the Christmas period,” Dr. Holohan added.

Infection rate rises

The national 14-day incidence rate of the virus is now 321.3 per lakh. Counties with the highest infection rates include Monaghan (581.6), Donegal (552.2) and Louth (528.4). The lowest rates are in Tipperary (138.5), Leitrim (143.6) and Wicklow (154.5).

Of yesterday’s cases, 846 were men and 900 were women. 64% are under 45 years of age. 523 cases were recorded in Dublin; 296 in Cork, 180 in Galway, 104 in Mayo, and 94 in Kerry. The remaining 557 cases are spread across all other counties.

In Northern Ireland, 1,929 new infections and 11 deaths were confirmed yesterday.

Reminder from HSE

HSE chief executive Paul Reid, warned on Twitter that the spread of the virus needed to be controlled.

“Positivity rates yesterday at 22% with some centres reaching 50%. It’s quite rampant & high risk. But we can turn this around again. Let’s do it,” Mr. Reid said.  “It is absolutely rampant in the community and we know that for a fact. Everyone is at extreme high risk now of contracting the virus,” he said. Therefore, vulnerable groups need to be extra vigilant, the HSE chief added.

He reminded that no healthcare system can control this increase. He said that although the number of people in the trolleys is currently low, given the current situation, none of these facilities will be sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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