By Carmel Hayes
IRELAND has 254 new cases of Covid-19 but fewer than five of them are in Laois.
The latest confirmed cases and three deaths were announced this evening by the Department of Health.
The number of new cases in Laois was not specified, which means that the number is between one and four.
Commenting on today’s national figures, Professor Philip Nolan of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said: “I am more concerned than I have been at any point since late April.”
This evening’s county breakdown shows that Laois had no new cases yesterday, despite the fact that it was included among the counties that had an increase of between one and four.
When the daily national figures are announced, the exact number in a county is not given when it is below five. The number in Laois today will be available tomorrow evening, when the nationwide county breakdown is updated. County figures are published a day later than national figures.
The Laois total currently stands at 420, which is the total number of coronavirus cases in the county since the pandemic begin. The vast majority have recovered.
Of today’s new cases nationally, there are 136 in Dublin, 20 in Donegal, 13 in Louth, 12 in Wicklow, 9 in Waterford, 7 Carlow, 7 in Cork, 6 in Galway, 5 in Kerry and 5 in Wexford.
The other 28 cases are located in Clare, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath.
More than six in ten (65%) of the new cases are under 45 years of age and 61% are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case. 24 cases have been identified as community transmission.
Commenting on today’s figures, acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: “The current situation has deteriorated both in Dublin and nationally over the past week. Along with Dublin, we have seen particularly concerning trends in Louth, Waterford and Donegal. It is now absolutely essential that people act on public health advice and act as if they or those close to them are potentially infectious.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “The reproduction number is between 1.3 – 1.7 nationally. I am more concerned than I have been at any point since late April. Case numbers appear to be growing exponentially and are likely to double every 10 to 14 days if every one of us does not immediately act to break chains of transmission of the virus.
“If we do not interrupt transmission now, bring the r-number back to below 1, modelling shows that we could have 500 – 1,000 cases per day by 16 October, 50-60% of which would be in Dublin.”
Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said: “There are currently 73 Covid-19 patients in hospital, 9 of these have been admitted in the past 24 hours. 14 of these patients are in ICU. We are seeing a sharp increase in rate of admissions of Covid-19 patients into our acute hospitals.
“We know that without a reversal of these trends, admissions can escalate rapidly to the point where our healthcare facilities will be under unsustainable pressure. It is more essential than ever that we all adhere to the basic measures which can weaken the virus in the community.”
Dr Mary Favier, Covid-19 advisor to the Irish College of General Practitioners, said: “While we have been conducting a large number of tests on children, thanks to the vigilance of parents around symptoms and contacting GPs with concerns, we have not witnessed a disproportionate rise in the number of confirmed cases in children.”