23 new cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Co Clare among the 1,372 nationally and 7 further deaths.
Clare’s 14 day incidence rate of COVID-19 per 100k of the population now stands at 583.2 and is the ninth lowest in the country.
Nationally, 1,372 new cases are known. 502 are in Dublin, 164 in Cork, 77 in Wexford, 75 in Waterford, 66 in Louth and the remaining 488 cases are spread across all other counties.
Notification has been issued to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of seven additional deaths, all of which occurred in January. The median age of those who died is 77 years and the age range is 43-94 years.
Numbers in Irish hospitals have “peaked and plateaued,” Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group stated. As of 2pm on Monday, there are 1,905 individuals in hospital as a result of the virus, 219 of which are in critical care. 58 hospitalisations occurred in the past 24 hours.
Admissions per day to hospital has been decreasing for the past two weeks, Professor Nolan outlined. He cautioned that it will take “a long time” for numbers in hospitals to reduce with this to be visible by the end of February.
From the end of this week, numbers in critical care will begin to fall but at a very slow pace, Nolan added. It is likely that more than 100 persons will be in ICUs because of COVID-19 until the end of next month. “It will take a long time to bring the burden on our health system back to reasonable levels”.
There is “higher levels of infection in healthcare staff and patients than any other point in the pandemic,” he stated at Monday’s press briefing.
Speaking on Monday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn admitted that he would welcome any measure to reduce non-essential passengers coming into the country. He described the current measures as “useful” and added, “the most useful of all is public compliance”.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) confirmed that the vaccination of the third group in the Government’s Vaccine Allocation Strategy will begin in February. Under the Vaccine Allocation Strategy, people aged 70 and older will be vaccinated in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, 70-74.
A delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive within the expected range for February will be received, the Minister stated. “Delivery in March is likely to be more impacted and considerably lower than what was originally stated by the company. We continue to prioritise those most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our society against the backdrop of limited supply of vaccines”.
He outlined that the next stage of the vaccine programme will begin with those aged 85 years and older and will be administered initially through GPs in their surgeries. A public information campaign is being prepared by the HSE to provide all necessary details to ensure that everyone knows when, where and how to access their vaccine.