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14 new COVID-19 cases in Clare as youth praised for drop in national numbers

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Fourteen new cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Co Clare while an outbreak has been confirmed at Ennis Hospital.

It has not been confirmed if the increase in cases in the county is directly attributed to the outbreak at Ennis Hospital which was announced by UL Hospitals Group on Thursday. University Hospital Limerick had reported an outbreak yesterday (Wednesday).

A total of 14 new cases are now known in Co Clare representing the increase with minimal cases recorded so far this week.

Across the country, there are 591 new cases, 120 in Dublin, 75 in Donegal, 50 in Cork, 46 in Kerry, 44 in Limerick, 14 in Clare and the remaining 242 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

Health officials have been informed of an additional three COVID-19 related deaths, two of which occurred last month. 1,933 people have died from the virus in the Republic of Ireland.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Desmond Hickey told Thursday’s press briefing that a second surge is being experienced across Europe. Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan noted that all countries in the continent except Finland and Ireland are recording an increase to their 14 day incidence rate.

Dr Holohan stated that Level 5 restrictions had “succeeded in further reducing community transmission and disease incidence in Ireland, however, now is not the time to be complacent. We must keep driving down this disease- we must keep going”..

Most notably, he flagged, “the 19 to 24 year old age group has achieved a dramatic reduction in incidence, from 450 per 100,000 to 150 per 100,000 in two weeks. They have also halved their contacts in the past 5 weeks. We all need to recognise the efforts of our young people and I thank them.”

Ireland’s reproduction number is now between 0.7 and 0.9, Professor Phillip Nolan Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group outlined. “This is a testament to our collective effort to stop the spread of the virus and it is very good news. We may be doing better now but it is conditional on whether we keep it up. If we continue to use this time to drive the infection right down, we will be in a good position in four weeks time.”

He said the “escalating measures” were having the desired effect and is bringing the country back to the levels noted at the beginning of October.

Dr. Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Hospitals, HSE added, “While the age demographic of cases vary from the first surge back in March to this one, ICU admissions have affected people from all age groups, with the average length of stay at 17.8 days. People of all ages are potentially vulnerable to the more extreme symptoms of this disease.”

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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