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Highest amount of deaths announced in one day as Clare COVID-19 cases rises to 160

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*A lone fisherman in the River Fergus in recent days. Photograph: John Mangan

77 deaths have been recorded relating to COVID-19, the largest tally in a single day with an additional 401 confirmed cases and 7 in Clare.

Subsequent to the 77 deaths, 687 people have now died in the Republic of Ireland having been diagnosed with Coronavirus. Not all deaths were in the past 24 hours but have all been reported by health officials in the past day. On the island of Ireland, there have been 888 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Location detail on the 77 has highlighted, 67 were in the east, 4 in both the west and north-west with 2 in the south. They included 32 males and 44 females, the gender of one case was not specified. 84 years old is the median age of the reported deaths. 54 of the individuals were reported as having underlying health conditions.

A 2.6% increase in the amount of confirmed cases has been relayed by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 15,652 people have received a positive diagnosis since the outbreak of the virus.

Latest figures for Clare which are as of midnight on Saturday stand at 160. This marks an additional seven cases in the county.

No update on the addition of a vaccine was forthcoming when Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn was questioned at Monday’s press briefing.

Extra detail was provided on COVID-19 in nursing homes. So far, 1,761 confirmed cases are known in long-term residential care settings and 1,204 in nursing homes. 406 residents in long-term care settings have died from COVID-19, 329 of these have been confirmed following laboratory tests and 77 are said to be probable. In nursing homes, 337 individuals have from COVID-19, 276 of which have been verified by laboratories with 61 classed as probable.

“There are 18 COVID-19 response teams across the country, each one led by senior nursing support, assisting nursing homes and long-term residential facilities,” Dr Kathleen Mac Lellan, Assistant Secretary Department of Health and Chair of NPHET Vulnerable People Subgroup, said. “These teams have senior clinical expertise, infection prevention and control and public health input in preventing and managing clusters”.

Dr Siobhan Kennelly, HSE National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead for Older Persons said that engagement with the nursing home sector has been ongoing since the start of February. “We know from international and domestic experience that this disease disproportionately targets vulnerable groups such as older people and those with underlying health conditions. But we also know that the Irish experience in relation to deaths in nursing homes is not an outlier in relation to the European experience”.

“We’ve been clear all along, we need to see these measures stay in place and see progress,” Dr Tony Holohan said of the potential lifting of restrictions come May 5th. “I don’t think it should be a natural assumption on people’s parts that things are going to change,” the Chief Medical Officer cautioned. “There will still be substantial requirements in terms of our collective behaviour, we don’t want this infection to grow on the population”. He said the message now must be one of no complacency and not taking our foot off the gas.

He said that the focus is to have capacity in place so that a build-up can be dealt with if it occurs once restrictions are lifted.

Earlier on Monday, the Government’s Cabinet sub-committee on COVID-19 met to discuss long-term care facilities, testing and overseas travel. They discussed options to tighten travel restrictions at ports and airports. Further conversations have to take place with the Cabinet and the Northern Ireland administration before a final decision is made.

“Ireland needs to find a balance which allows the airports and ports to stay open, in order to allow the movement of supplies, essential workers, and for Irish citizens to be able to return home, but which also minimises the risk of transmission of the virus, including the requirement for people arriving into Ireland to self-restrict their movements for 14 days,” a spokesperson outlined.

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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