5 of the 395 new cases of COVID-19 across the country are in Co Clare equating at one percent.
It is the sixth day in a row where a single figure daily increase of COVID-19 cases has been recorded in Co Clare. Of the 395 cases, the remainder are located in Dublin (132), Cork (31), Donegal (27), Limerick (27), Galway (27) with the remaining 151 in eighteen counties including the five in Clare.
Health officials have been notified of one additional death bringing the death toll across the country to 1,965. One death has been de-notified. Thus far in November, there have 33 deaths compared to a total of 119 throughout October and 36 in September.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Desmond Hickey said that Ireland has the second lowest fourteen day incidence rate of all EU countries.
Speaking on Thursday, Dr Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Hospitals, HSE noted that an increase in persons presenting to emergency departments was a positive and almost back to levels prior to the pandemic. She said the number of cases at hospitals has “plateaued” with latest figures from 2pm on Thursday showing 279 COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals, 39 of which are in ICU.
An expected “slower decrease” in the amount of cases in hospitals than within communities has been observed.
She added, “Our hospitals are busy”. An increase in ED activity “has led to some increase in patients waiting on beds,” Dr Hickey admitted. 78 new beds are due to be opened within the UL Hospitals Group by the end of the year, she confirmed.
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said “We estimate the reproduction number is now at 0.6. Data suggests that Level 3 measures stabilized case numbers, while Level 5 measures were required to suppress transmission, especially when infection rates are high. If we sustain our efforts we can force infection down to very low levels.”
Should current measures be maintained, Professor Nolan said that fewer than 100 cases per day would be recorded. He outlined that “significant progress” has been made but flagged “we are only halfway back down the curve that we came up from”.
Fewer positive cases are being returned, Professor Nolan acknowledged with a positivity rate of 3.5 percent.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan told Thursday’s press briefing that he echoed the sentiments of Tanáiste Leo Varadkar (FG) advising Irish people abroad not to return home from Christmas. “One of the biggest risks” he felt was the re-emergence of the disease due to international travel.
He said it was “too early for people to be making plans” for Christmas given the unpredictable nature of Coronavirus. “Large-scale social events involving alcohol” were identified by Dr Holohan as ones which cause concern for epidemiologists and listed office parties and family gatherings at Christmas as particular examples.