*Photograph: John Mangan
An increase in the incidence rate of COVID-19 in Co Clare has been experienced following confirmation of 20 new cases of the virus in the county.
On Thursday evening, the Department of Health announced that 866 new cases were known across the Republic of Ireland. Detail on the location of these outlined that 242 were in Dublin, 166 in Cork, 56 in Donegal, 54 in Galway, 44 in Meath, 20 in Clare and the remaining 284 cases are spread across another 19 counties.
Further detail on the cases has revealed that the median age of the new cases is 35 years old.
Six new deaths have been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. It brings the national total to 1,902 since the onset of Coronavirus.
Co Clare has recorded 20 new cases of the virus. This increase has resulted in the incidence rate of COVID-19 per 100k of population over the past fourteen days in the county rising. Clare has the fifteenth highest incidence rate of all twenty six counties in the Republic of Ireland at 255.0, the figure remains below the national rate of 292.1.
Over the past 24 hours, 15 hospitalisations related to the virus were noted. Data accurate as of 2pm on Thursday highlighted that 328 persons are being treated for COVID-19 in Irish hospitals, of this 43 are in ICUs.
Speaking on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan renewed his appeal for individuals to self-isolate and contact their GP if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
“Self-isolate means stay in your room and avoid contact with other members of your household. Doing this will protect those you live with by interrupting the chain of transmission. I again appeal to everyone to behave as though you are a close contact. Stay at home, other than for essential reasons”.
Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid said it remains “very apprehensive” heading into the winter, despite some positive trends in terms of COVID-19 case numbers and the positivity rate.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Reid detailed that the public were reducing their contacts with the number of close contacts per case now at 3.7. He said the first reduction in the positivity rate for cases had been seen since August and was now at 5.9%.
Ireland’s hospital system is “stable and coping,” HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry stated. A surge capacity is not being used by the HSE presently, he confirmed.
Dr Henry said the 14-day incidence was beginning to drop, but the seven-day incidence had dropped even more and they are beginning to see a peak and fall in all age groups, but that a “significant caveat” was that in older groups, it was continuing to rise.
Although measures are having the desired effect, Dr Henry referenced experiences in Europe. “We are only ever two weeks away from overwhelmed healthcare systems”.