Clare has reported eight new cases of COVID-19 among the tally of 613 nationwide and 35 further deaths.

Hospital numbers continue to drop with less than 600 currently hospitalised with the virus, it is the first time since Christmas that this has happened. Data from 8am on Thursday revealed that 138 of the 591 persons hospitalised with COVID-19 are in critical care. 20 new hospitalisations occurred in the past 24 hours.

There are 8 new cases diagnosed in Co Clare, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) stated. The county’s 14 day incidence rate per 100k of the population is the eighth lowest in the country standing at a figure of 160.8.

Nationally, 613 new cases are known with 224 in Dublin, 39 in Limerick, 37 in Meath, 34 in Westmeath, 33 in Offaly and the remaining 246 cases are spread across all other counties.

An additional 35 deaths related to the virus are known. 21 of these deaths occurred in February, 12 occurred in January, 1 in November, while one further death is under investigation. The median age of those who died was 85 years and the age range was 53 – 102 years. There has been a total of 4,271 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

359,616 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland as of Monday. 226,291 people have received their first dose and 133,325 people have received their second dose.

Key indicators of disease levels in communities continue to fall, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer stated. “We must remember that COVID-19 is still circulating at a high level and, we are still seeing positivity rates of around 15% in the community. As we see more of our children return to school next week, it is important that we continue to follow all of the public health guidance, including on the school run,” Dr Ronan Glynn advised.

He said it would be “disingenuous” to have a reopening plan including dates. Dr Glynn cautioned that the new variant is equivalent to a new virus. “We’re very conscious that people are desperate for certainty”.

A “significant impact” has been witnessed among healthcare workers as Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme moved into the community in the last ten days, Dr Lucy Jessop, Director, National Immunisation Office outlined. “In the last week in January, almost 1,400 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19; that number was less than 300 last week. This is wonderful news and clearly demonstrates the early impact the vaccination programme is having. However, even if you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, you must continue to wash your hands, wear a face covering, maintain a social distance and keep your close contacts to a minimum”.

“Continued and significant progress” has been observed, Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said. “The reproduction number remains below 1, between 0.6 and 0.9, which is a real achievement given the higher transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant, which accounts for 90% of cases.

New variants of the virus will continue to emerge, Dr Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory flagged.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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