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Health officials express concern with national picture as Clare records increase in COVID-19 cases

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On a day when 254 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded nationally, less than five of them are in Co Clare.

For the eighth day in a row, Clare has experienced an increase in the amount of COVID-19 cases in the county. There were two new cases as per the most recent county by county figures which account for Monday’s figures.

254 new cases were reported to the Department of Health in the past 24 hours. Extra geographical detail on these has shown that Dublin (136), Donegal (20), Louth (13), Wicklow (12), Waterford (9), Carlow (7), Cork (7), Galway (6), Kerry (5) and Wexford (5) account for the majority. The remaining 28 are in Clare, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath.

An additional three deaths have been reported bringing to 1,788 the total amount of people who have died across the country from COVID-19.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn stated that the fourteen day incidence rate is now at 56 cases per 100,000 of the population. 67% of cases in the past fortnight were in under 45s and 10% were in over 65s with 9% among healthcare workers, 55% of all cases in the country were located in Dublin. Currently there are 73 confirmed cases in Irish hospitals and 14 in critical care units, he outlined.

“I am more concerned at this point in time than I have been at any time since April,” Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group told Wednesday’s press briefing. He warned that cases will double every 10-14 days if every one of us does not act immediately to stop the spread.

Professor Nolan said that of “very significant concern” was the rapid jump in hospitalisations. He admitted that the disease and hospitalisations were “concentrated in Dublin”. Throughout the month of August, four people died from COVID-19 in Ireland, the figure by mid September is already at 14, he highlighted.

He added, “The reproduction number is between 1.3 – 1.7 nationally. Case numbers appear to be growing exponentially and are likely to double every 10 to 14 days if every one of us does not immediately act to break chains of transmission of the virus. If we do not interrupt transmission now, bring the r-number back to below 1, modelling shows that we could have 500 -1,000 cases per day by the 16th of October, 50-60% of which would be in Dublin.”

Nine hospital admissions have been recorded in the past 24 hours, Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE noted. “We are seeing a sharp increase in rate of admissions of COVID-19 patients into our acute hospitals. We know that without a reversal of these trends, admissions can escalate rapidly to the point where our healthcare facilities will be under unsustainable pressure. It is more essential than ever that we all adhere to the basic measures which can weaken the virus in the community”.

“While we have been conducting a large number of tests on children, thanks to the vigilance of parents around symptoms and contacting GP’s with concerns, we have not witnessed a disproportionate rise in the number of confirmed cases in children,” Dr. Mary Favier, COVID-19 advisor to the Irish College of General Practitioners commented.

She said, “We have really successful opened the schools”. Dr Favier maintained that there had been no clusters associated with schools since they reopened.

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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