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*Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

For the first time since St Stephen’s Day, there have been no COVID-19 admissions to intensive care in the space of 24 hours.

Clare has recorded six new cases of the virus which leaves the 14 day incidence rate per 100k of the population at 142.2 which is the ninth lowest in the country.

Nationally, 687 more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 240 are in Dublin, 49 in Limerick, 44 in Offaly, 40 in Galway, 36 in Louth and the remaining 278 cases are spread across 19 other counties

One further death related to the virus has been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). The death occurred in the month of January and brings the country’s death toll to 4,319.

“It is noteworthy that there have been no admissions to intensive care in the last 24 hours,” Professor Philip Nolan stated. This is the first time since December 26th that this has happened. Hospital data from 8am on Monday revealed that 540 persons are hospitalised because of the virus, 120 of which are in ICUs. 14 additional hospitalisations occurred in the past 24 hours.

He stated that a decrease of 8 to 10 percent of case counts has been experienced. Nolan said the admissions to hospital and critical care continue to fall.

As of February 26th, 426,070 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland. 285,780 people have received their first dose and 140,290 people have received their second dose.

Progress continues to be made, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer outlined. “In the last 24 hours, we have had no new admissions to critical care, the first time this has happened since St. Stephen’s Day. This is one more tangible signal of the efforts that people continue to make and how those efforts are impacting positively on the trajectory of COVID-19 in Ireland. Please stick with this over the coming weeks,” Dr Ronan Glynn commented.

Data from the Public Opinion Tracking Survey Research (Amárach/Department of Health) and from the new Social Activity Measure ESRI/Department of the Taoiseach) shows that 79% of respondents believe that preventing the spread of COVID-19 is more important than the burden of restrictions.

Professor Pete Lunn, Head of the Behavioural Research Unit at the ESRI, who analysed the data explained, “Just because we feel a particular way, does not mean that this feeling dictates our behaviour. Rather, the large majority of people in Ireland support the restrictions and are sticking to them, despite the frustrations. The data also show systematic misperceptions about socially activity. Presently, half the adult population does not meet up with anyone outside their household over a 48-hour period, with less than one quarter meeting up with three or more. Yet these more socially active people believe that they are meeting fewer people than average”.

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