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Only half of people with Covid-19 symptoms are isolating as 4,799 new cases confirmed in Ireland

467 people were in hospital with the virus this morning, including 104 are in intensive care.

Image: Sam Boal

Updated Dec 20th 2021, 7:18 PM

A FURTHER 4,799 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed by public health officials this evening as the latest data warns that only half of people with Covid-19 symptoms are isolating.

As of 8am today, 467 people were in hospital with the virus, including 104 in intensive care.

Yesterday, 5,124 new cases were confirmed, with 436 Covid-19 patients in hospital and 105 in ICU.

The Omicron variant is now estimated to make up 52% of Ireland’s confirmed cases.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that the “level of disease and positivity rate amongst young adults has increased sharply in the last week”.

“One in four people in the 16 – 34-year-old age group that are going for a PCR test have received a ‘detected’ result. This is one of the highest rates since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

“This high level of disease in young people represents a high risk to those they come into contact with who have yet to be vaccinated or receive their booster. Therefore, if you have not yet received your booster you are best to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household.”

The most recent data from Amarach indicates that only half of people with Covid-19 symptoms are isolating themselves from others.

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“This is the single most important piece of basic public health advice – it is vital that you isolate as soon as you experience any symptoms of Covid-19 and arrange a PCR test,” Dr Holohan said.

“Do not meet up with others and put them at risk of Covid-19 or another respiratory infection. Do not rely on a negative antigen test as a basis for not isolating.” 

As difficult as it may seem, limiting as much as possible your Christmas to small numbers and very close family will protect them. This is an exceptional sacrifice to ask after the very difficult year all of us have had, so please remember that it may be the decision that protects yourself or a loved one from the severe impacts of Covid-19.”

This morning, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that “record case numbers” are expected in the days ahead, but there are no plans yet for further restrictions.

Obviously wearing masks, particularly high quality FFP2 masks if you can; reducing social contacts – all of those things make a difference and we believe that combined will be enough to weather the Omicron wave.

The new pandemic measures, agreed by Cabinet and announced on Friday, were introduced at midnight last night and will last until Sunday 30 January, including an 8pm curfew for pubs and restaurants and a cap on indoor and outdoor events.

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