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HSE urges people to reduce contacts with average for positive case now at six

CEO Paul Reid said the numbers failing to turn up for their swab appointments has reduced now.

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THE HSE HAS again urged people to reduce their social contacts with numbers of contacts of positive cases averaging at six. 

At the launch of the HSE’s winter plan this morning, CEO Paul Reid said the €600 million investment from the government was “unprecedented” but the public’s support through the winter will also be vital.

“We need the public’s support to protect the health service this winter by continuously protecting yourself, and follow the public health advice. Our aim – our ultimate aim – is to protect you, the public, but this year more than ever we need you to protect us as well.”

He said over the last seven days more than 11,000 contact tracing calls were made and the positivity rate in testing has increased now to 2.2%. The vast majority of people are attending their swab appointments, he said. 

Around 91% attend their Day 0 test and almost 70% attend their Day 7 test.

“The numbers of contacts are still averaging around six, there are obviously still some outliers on that and significant outliers on that, I gave you a case before where it was up to 50, we’re not seeing the mass outliers but there still are some,” he said.

HSE data shows the average number of close contacts surged at certain times in July and August. 

Source: HSE

These numbers have stabilised in recent weeks but health officials continue to appeal to members of the public to reduce their social contacts as much as possible.

Last night Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said people need to make choices about their social activities and prioritise a small bubble of people to interact with. 

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He said if everyone cut their contacts by half it would have “an enormous impact” on the spread of the virus.

“I’ve seen discourse that suggests that we need to give the power back to people and let people make choices. That’s what we’re doing here. That’s what we’ve been doing for weeks. We’re telling people that the disease is going in the wrong direction. And they need to listen to that.

“And they individually need to make choices. Go to your football match, but then don’t go to the pub, or go to the pub, but don’t go to the football match. Bring your children to the playground, but don’t bring your children to your neighbour’s house down the road.

“These are choices we all have to make, we can’t have everything that we had eight months ago. It’s not the time for house parties, it’s not the time for big communion celebrations, it’s not the time for big family gatherings.

“But more than that, as an individual level, choose a small network of people that you want to be your social contacts and stick with that bubble or with that group of people over the coming days and weeks.”

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