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254 new COVID-19 cases as Clare hits new record

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Clare has recorded its highest figure of COVID-19 cases in 24 hour period.

On Thursday evening, it was announced that an additional 254 cases of the virus had been diagnosed in the county over a 24 hour period.

It brings Clare’s 14 day incidence rate per 100k of the population to 899.7 which is catching the national rate of 936.4.

Nationally, a total of 6,521 new cases have been confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). 2,174 of these are in Dublin, 571 in Cork, 382 in Limerick, 342 in Waterford, 315 in Wexford and the remaining 2,737 cases are spread across all other counties.

Speaking on Thursday, Professor Philip Nolan stated that the backlog of cases from the Christmas period has now been cleared.

An additional ten deaths have been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. Since March, 2,307 persons have died from the virus in the Republic of Ireland.

ICU numbers have doubled in the space of a week, Prof Nolan commented. As of 2pm today, 1,043 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 96 are in ICU. 99 additional hospitalisations were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Prof Nolan said a “very significant increase” in the reproduction number had been observed. The R number is currently between 2.4 and 3, he said.

Early signs indicate that the restrictive measures are working, Prof Nolan added with a word of caution that there is “a considerable way to go”. A high incidence rate across all age-groups is noticeable with a “very high” five day moving average.

Testing is at the highest level of any point of the pandemic, he confirmed. A “plateau” of positivity rates has also been observed. Case numbers could be between 1,600 and 2,000 by the end of January, he predicted.

“It is reasonable to conclude that we are seeing an increasing presence of this variant in our population,” Prof Nolan commented of the UK variant.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan told Thursday’s press briefing that the level of community transmission between when schools were deemed safe to reopen and now represented a “different situation”.

He praised the Department of Education, teachers, principals, students, Boards of Management and parents for how they helped schools to run from December but highlighted, “the current epidemiological situation has changed”.

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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