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‘Too early to lift restrictions’ as Clare’s confirmed cases hits 66

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*An empty O’Connell St in Ennis. Photograph: John Mangan

25 more people have died from COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland as the country’s confirmed cases increased by 365 with health officials advised that it is too early to lift any community or physical distancing measures.

To date, 6,074 have been diagnosed throughout the country with a total of 235 deaths. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that of the 25 latest deaths, 13 were in the east, 8 in the north, 2 in the south and 2 in the west of Ireland. The median age of the individuals was 80 who were made up of fifteen men and ten women

Analysis of Monday’s 5,981 cases revealed that the median age of all confirmed cases was 48. To date 227 cases have been admitted to ICU. This detail has also noted that 66 people in Co Clare have been diagnosed with the virus.

Community transmission accounts for the majority of known cases at 67% followed by close contact at 23% and travel abroad at 10%.

The National Public Health Emergency Team noted today’s guidance from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that the risk of severe disease associated with COVID-19 in the EU and UK is considered moderate for the general population and very high for vulnerable groups.

Advice from the ECDC stated that it was too early to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.

“Ireland continues to follow ECDC guidance with regards to testing, contact tracing and the implementation of community measures such as physical distancing and cocooning. This is the most effective way we have of slowing down the spread of this virus and saving lives. Our public health guidance is under constant review and the National Public Health Emergency Team will meet again on Friday morning to review the impact of ongoing measures,” Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health stated.

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health added, “The ECDC has said that the probability of continued spread of COVID-19 is very high. The risk of exceeding the capacity of the health system remains high even in countries like Ireland where significant public health restrictions have been put in place. It is for these reasons that we continue to ask people to stay at home and to follow public health advice. While we know these measures are difficult especially as we approach a sunny, bank holiday weekend, the efforts we are seeing from the public are having an impact and making a real difference.”

Holohan confirmed that the testing capacity is now greater than the demand for testing. Individuals who are waiting on test results are advised to self-isolate and limit their interactions.

Capacity is evident in ICU units across the country, the HSE’s National Director for Acute Operations, Liam Woods outlined. He said there was 138 empty ICU beds on Tuesday with surge plans in place nationally “they are contingent on the training of nurses, ventilators and oxygen”.

Six percent of all cases involve healthcare workers “because of their operation,” Dr Glynn stated. Healthcare workers are being prioritised for testing, Tony Holohan commented.

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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