Number of people in hospital with Covid-19 at 308 as Government decision looms


Health officials last night confirmed 606 new cases of Covid-19 and three deaths.

Updated 16 hours ago

THE NUMBER OF people with Covid-19 in hospitals across Ireland has fallen slightly to 308. 

According to the latest HSE data there are 308 people being treated for Covid-19 in hospital, as of 8pm last night. On Monday, there were 359 people being treated for Covid-19 in hospital.

As of 8pm last night, there are also 75 people with Covid-19 in intensive care units. 

Health officials last night confirmed 606 new cases of Covid-19 and three deaths. 

Daily case numbers have either become static or have begun to increase slightly, according to Professor Philip Nolan, the chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.

Nolan said last night the current decline rates are between 0% and 2% per day, which would lead to doubling in around 35 days or longer.

The reproduction number is also uncertain, but it is estimated to be between 1 and 1.3.

Nolan highlighted some reasons which are potentially behind the stasis in case numbers, including an increase in attendance at workplaces in late February, before dropping around the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday, then increasing again. 

“There’s a clear association between level of attendance in the workplace, and whether schools are open or closed,” said Nolan, referencing that attendance at workplaces dropped during the midterm break.

When asked about what people can do to lower case numbers more, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn highlighted the gains that have been made, including reduction of incidence rates in the 18-24 and over 65 age cohorts.

“We know that the vast majority of people are doing all they can. We know, for example, that 90% of people, nine out of 10 people are not visiting other households,” said Glynn.

“That’s phenomenal. That’s a huge ask for people to continue to do that over such a protracted period of time, but they are continuing to do it.”

The latest figures come as Government considers easing restrictions ahead of an announcement on Tuesday. 

The situation remains “volatile”, according to NPHET, but Dr Glynn highlighted that the country will begin to return to a level of normality as the level of vaccination increases throughout younger age cohorts.

He used both the impact of vaccination on the prevalence of Covid-19 in nursing homes, which has dropped dramatically.

“There are brighter days coming,” he said, adding that people should continue to follow guidelines.

“It will bring us back to a level of normality, that, that really we haven’t experienced since, since 2019 effectively.”

The Deputy CMO was also asked about whether those who had been fully vaccinated could meet up indoors, or without socially distancing or wearing masks.

He said that although NPHET expected to issue updated advice on this next week, current public health guidelines still applied to those who had been vaccinated.

“People should assume that they’re not protected, and they don’t have protection, until two weeks after they’ve had their second dose of vaccine,” he said.

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“For the majority of people in the community, we’re a good number of weeks away from that scenario.”

Meanwhile, 1,400 people accessed the five new “walk-in, no appointment necessary” Covid-19 test centres .

The temporary testing centres will allow people who don’t have symptoms of Covid-19 to get a free test without having to contact their GP first. 

The HSE is opening the walk-in centres in areas where the number of positive cases are particularly high. 

As of Monday, 690,449 vaccines had been administered in Ireland – 503,796 were first doses with 186,653 people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 

A total of 855,360 doses had been delivered to Ireland by Friday 19 March.

A further 244,000 doses should be delivered by 31 March if Ireland is to meet its target of 1.1 million for Q1. 

HSE CEO Paul Reid has confirmed that he expects AstraZeneca to deliver more than 100,000 doses next week – in addition to Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Reid said people should expect to see vaccines rolled out to more and more GP practices as the rollout ramps up. 

“That will be largely through us upping our resourcing. We’ve almost 11,000 people now fully skilled, trained vaccinators, but the way we will be mobilising our [vaccination]centres to deliver to those volumes are…we’ll be utilising the combination of our own skilled staff, experienced vaccinators [and]significantly recruiting for our campaign which we’ve been running. There’s about 4000 applications and nationally and locally,” said Reid. 

Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn

Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn


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