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*Photograph: John Mangan

Ireland has recorded a further 28 deaths and 936 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the total amount of individuals diagnosed in Clare to date now standing at 187.

In what it the highest figure of new cases confirmed in the space of 24 hours, it has been confirmed by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre that there are 936 more cases of COVID-19 in the country bringing the total figure to 17,607. 4,545 of cases involve healthcare workers. The major increase in cases is linked to the improved rate of testing in long-term residential settings.

Clare has witnessed its largest increase of confirmed cases in the space of one day. An additional 22 people have been diagnosed with the virus as of Tuesday (April 21st) rising from 165 to 187.

Clare Echo Planning

Although 28 extra deaths have been recorded, three have been de-notified which means 794 people in the Republic have died since the outbreak of the virus.

Concern has been expressed publicly with how the protection offered to nursing homes during the pandemic. On Thursday it was confirmed that 361 of Ireland’s deaths are of nursing home residents. 433 people living in long-term residential care settings have also died. In terms of confirmed cases, positive test results have been issued to 2,960 individuals in long-term residential care and 2,231 nursing home residents. “It took some time to get into the nursing home setting,” Professor Phillip Nolan stated.

Across Europe, half of the deaths recorded have been in residential care settings, the World Health Organisation have stated.

Staff from UL Hospitals Group have been redeployed to residential care settings across the Mid-West, Chief Clinical Officer with the HSE, Dr. Colm Henry stated this evening (Thursday).

Nolan said the disease was “heavily suppressed” within the general population but that it remained unclear that is was fully under control. “The single best protection for people in long term residential care,” he outlined was to remove the virus from the general population. “We’re on track to get the level of disease down but we’ve some way to go yet”.

Ireland’s reproductive number is now between .4 and .7, Nolan stated. “This tells us that the work everybody has done to interrupt transmission of the virus has been successful”. Every second person is not affecting anybody and every other person is affecting one other individual based on this. He warned that the health system “would not be able to cope” if the reproductive number was to increase to previous levels.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan told Thursday’s press briefing that there is evidential basis of more activity in recent days. Charts produced by Irish seismologists have detected increased activity, “people are moving about more than they were”. Transportation had experienced a “substantial reduction,” Holohan acknowledged.

He admitted that “the majority of the public still with us” with regard to adhering to measures but warned of increasing complacency. The Department of Health official reiterated that if a decision was to be made on restrictions today, they would not be relaxed.

A regionalised reduction in such measures is not anticipated, Dr Holohan said. As of Tuesday, Dublin accounted for 50% of cases. A meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) takes place on Friday morning.

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