A further 16 deaths and 129 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Republic of Ireland with most recent figures for Co Clare showing an increase of four.

On Friday evening, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed 16 more people had died meaning to date 1,518 COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in the Republic of Ireland since the outbreak of the virus.

129 extra cases are now known by health officials as of 11am on Friday. It brings to 23,956 the amount of positive diagnoses that have been given in the country.

Latest figures for Co Clare which are as of Wednesday May 13th note an extra four cases within the county. 308 confirmed cases have been allocated to the county since the virus first emerged.

A rapid alert has been issued by the ECDC about a Kawasaki-like inflammatory syndrome among children. 230 suspect cases have been identified across Europe with two deaths while in New York City, 85 suspect cases and two deaths are being examined. Seven children in Ireland have been linked to the disease, Dr Tony Holohan confirmed. It occurs in 15 per 100,000 children according to background incidence in UK and Ireland, the Chief Medical Officer outlined.

No additional detail on the Mater Hospital was available from Dr Holohan. 244 COVID-19 cases at the Dublin hospital were reported late prompting Minister for Health Simon Harris (FG) requesting the CEO of the HSE to conduct a review. Holohan said he would have more to say when the report is issued. He said he “would be surprised” if there were similar hospitals withholding information across the country.

On the advice issued by NPHET that face masks be worn, Dr Holohan said once used properly in the correct settings, “they can be helpful”. Video supports will be published online by the HSE and the Department of Health to provide further information, “It’s really important that people do not see face coverings as a shield or a magic bullet”.

Studies are to be carried out in the coming weeks and months on the benefits of wearing face masks. “We don’t have enough evidence to say it is so certain to warrant it becoming mandatory,” Dr Holohan admitted.

Specific consideration was given to making them compulsory on public transport, the decision not to do so has been criticised by SIPTU. Holohan said that individuals with skin conditions or asthma may not be in a position to wear the coverings. “We recognise that for some people it may not be possible. The evidence is not conclusive to say we should recommend making them mandatory”.

Advice with regard to school closures was done on the basis of “public health assessment,” the Department of Health official confirmed. He highlighted that maximum attendance is encouraged in school settings and stated that it was unlikely schools would reopen before the summer holidays.

Meetings with individuals particularly those that may be classed as vulnerable from Monday onwards must take place outdoors, Dr Siobhán Kennelly, HSE National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead for Older Persons said. “There is a higher risk of transmission indoors,” she commented.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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