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76 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland with 12 more deaths while for the third day in a row there has been no increase in Co Clare.

A further 12 deaths have been confirmed by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) bringing to 1,583 the amount of persons that have died since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Of those that have died, 604 were hospitalised, 77 were admitted to ICU and 1374 had one or more underlying conditions. 791 males and 791 females have died.

62.5% (989) of the deaths in Ireland have been of those living in long-term residential settings, of that figure 862 were nursing home residents. Of the 6292 confirmed cases in residential care settings, 4877 are in nursing homes.

An additional 76 cases are now known and the country’s total of individuals diagnoses is now 24,391, many of whom have since recovered.

For the third day in a row, there has been no new cases recorded in Co Clare. Detail from Tuesday May 19th shows that there remains 315 cases within the county accounting for 1.3% of the nation’s total.

Currently 52 patients remain in ICU, an increase of two in the last 24 hours. To date, there have been 392 ICU admissions. Presently, there are 315 confirmed cases in Irish hospitals, up 15.

Data up to May 16th has outlined that there are 7660 cases are associated with healthcare workers. Of these, 279 have been hospitalised, 40 admitted to ICU and 7 have died. By profession the confirmed cases are nurses (31.7%), healthcare assistants (25.4%), allied health professionals (22.9%), doctors (5.9%) and porters (1.1%).

Friday morning’s meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to focus on the country’s testing strategy, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn confirmed. He maintained that by and large, the country has been very compliant with restrictions.

“It is not inevitable that they will have a second wave”, Dr Glynn stated. He stressed that it will “take an ongoing significant effort from the country” to prevent such a scenario occurring.

For the second evening in a row, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan was absent from the press briefing. He was present at the Department of Health throughout the day attending meetings, health officials confirmed. Dr Glynn labelled it a “miscommunication” that the Department’s press office had stated Dr Holohan would attend Thursday’s briefing. It is unclear if he will address the media on Friday but he will chair Friday’s NPHET meeting.

Earlier today, Minister for Health, Simon Harris (FG) told the Dáil that the reproductive rate of COVID-19 in Ireland was approximately 0.45.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said; “Most indicators continue to improve, with ICU and hospital admissions, number of cases per day and number of deaths per day continuing to decline. Prevalence of the virus remains low in the community. The reproduction number is well below one, so our task remains to maintain low transmission of the virus.”

Should there be a second wave, the first increase will be recorded within the community, Dr Glynn commented. He said the “greatest protection” that can be given to nursing homes and long-term residential care settings to try control the spread of the virus.

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