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Significant reduction in number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and ICUs; vaccination and strict restrictions paid off

DUBLIN: The situation is progressing to the point where Ireland can be said to have defeated the coronavirus pandemic, as the latest figures show that the restrictions and vaccination programme have all paid off.

The HSE reports that there are no patients undergoing COVID-19 treatment in some hospitals, and the number of patients in intensive care is decreasing. St James’ Hospital in Dublin had earlier confirmed that it was free of coronavirus patients for the first time since March 2020.

The number of daily cases, hospitalisation, and patients in the ICU all decreased significantly. The HSE said the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals had dropped to 59 – the lowest level in nearly nine months. Only 23 patients are being treated in the ICU.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid recalled that on January 18, during the peak of the third wave, 2,020 people were hospitalised with the infection. He said the decrease in case numbers was a remarkable benefit of our effective vaccination programme and overall public support. Yesterday marked the lowest number of patients in the hospital since September 13, 2020. Earlier, the Department of Health confirmed 398 new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Situation in Limerick is also under control

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said Ireland’s COVID-19 situation is improving. There have been nine admissions to ICU in the past two weeks, he said.

The situation in Limerick also appears to be under control as a result of public health interventions. The number of cases is declining in other parts of the country, including Dublin, he said.

In the vaccinated age groups, coronavirus infection is less than 10 cases per 100,000 people per week. “Incidence is now starting to fall in those aged 55-64 years as their vaccinations take effect, and the recent increase in incidence in those aged 19-24 may be stabilizing. We are doing really well,” Prof. Nolan said.

“If we follow public health advice (self-isolate & get a test if symptomatic, meet outdoors, avoid crowded spaces, distance, masks, hygiene, ventilation) while we protect the wider population by vaccination, we can contain and then suppress the disease in the coming weeks,” he added.

According to HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Colm Henry, 64% of current cases are in people under the age of 35.

Meanwhile, HSE CEO Paul Reid said it was unclear when vaccination registration for people aged 30-39 would commence.

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