*Photograph: Sean Curtin / True Media
A further reduction in the amount of daily new cases of COVID-19 has been recorded in Co Clare.
On Monday evening, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) outlined that 29 new cases of the virus were known in the county. Across the country, a further 2,121 cases have been reported, 753 are in Dublin, 236 in Cork, 142 in Wexford, 126 in Kildare, 109 in Limerick and the remaining 755 cases are spread across all other counties.
Clare’s 14 day incidence rate per 100k of the population is at 1432.5. This figure has reduced for the third day in succession.
An additional eight deaths have been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), all of which occurred this month. The median age of those who died is 85 years and the age range is 49-93 years.
There are 200 patients in critical care as a result of COVID-19 as of 2pm on Monday, they are among the 1,975 persons hospitalised. Over the past 24 hours, 102 hospitalisations were recorded.
When asked on the whether schools were safe to reopen on Thursday for special-needs pupils, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn admitted, “I can’t proclaim what is safe for each individual”. He compared the scenario with entering shops to complete grocery shopping and the risks attached. Persons with severe concerns about the return were advised to contact their GP. “There is no zero risk environment,” Dr Glynn stated.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, explained, “This third wave of the pandemic has seen higher level of hospitalisations across all age groups. There are now more sick people in hospital than any time in the course of this pandemic. The risk that this disease poses to the individual who is infected has not changed. What has changed is that we are experiencing a much greater level of community transmission and as a result we are seeing higher numbers of people with severe illness who require hospitalisation or admission to intensive care and higher numbers of mortality. Please continue to stay at home and drive down this infection in our community.”
Up to the 11th of January, 81 reports of suspected side effects with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were received by the Health Products Regulatory Authority, Chief Executive Dr Lorraine Nolan confirmed.
Dr Nolan outlined, “All reports were generally consistent with those typically observed with other vaccines and included events of a mild to moderate nature which resolved or were resolving at the time of reporting. Among those most frequently reported were abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, joint pain and pains in the arms, some experience of dizziness, headache, itching and a rash – all consistent with the known and anticipated side effects as emerged during the clinical trials. While the relatively mild effects described are of course uncomfortable for those who experience them, they do pass quickly and generally do not require any medical treatment. Safety monitoring of all medicines, including vaccines, is central to the remit of the HPRA and we intend to publish a regular update of the number and nature of reports regarding suspected side effects with COVID-19 vaccines, as the vaccination roll-out continues”.
It is the first time during the pandemic that the HSE is operating within critical surge capacity, Dr. Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead flagged. “Our staff escalation plan is in operation and we are very grateful for the non-critical care staff who are supporting the delivery of these critical services. Patients across the health service are very sick. The message from your healthcare workers is to please stay at home and continue to interrupt the spread of COVID-19”.