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'We still have a very large burden of infection': 51 deaths and 2,608 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed

The figures were confirmed by public health officials this evening.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

Updated Jan 21st 2021, 6:20 PM

PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS have reported a further 2,608 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

An additional 51 deaths have also been confirmed in the latest figures released this evening by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

In total, 181,922 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Ireland, along with 2,818 deaths. 

As of 2pm today, 1,943 Covid-19 patients were in hospital with 214 in ICU. 

The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 people stands at 1,441. The R number has reduced to between 0.5 to 0.8.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there have been 532 deaths so far in January and “we can unfortunately expect this trend to continue over the coming days”.

Professor Philip Nolan said this evening that the prevalence of Covid-19 has declined in the community from its peak earlier this month but that the figures being recorded are still a cause of serious concern. 

The head of NPHET’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group also said that the incidence remains high in people over the age of 75 which is a significant concern. 

Outbreaks in residential settings and cases in healthcare settings were also described as “worrying” by Professor Nolan.

He said that from now we can expect the number of people in hospital should start to come down, albeit slowly, as cases have “plateaued”. 

“The average number of deaths today now exceeds the April wave,” Professor Nolan said.

He said that low levels of contacts have helped to drive the reproduction number down, but that this will be hard to maintain. 

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“We have a challenge on our hands to maintain suppression of the virus,” Professor Nolan added. 

If the R number remains between 0.5 and 0.9, then we can expect to see 1,600-1,700 cases per day by the end of the month. 

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “While we are making clear progress in reducing incidence we can see we still have a very large burden of infection – to illustrate this on 1 December, when we last eased restrictions, our 5 day moving average was 261 cases per day, today it is almost ten times that number at 2,430 cases per day.

“It is evident that the population is working as one to reduce contacts and interrupt further transmission of the disease. However, we are witnessing the effects of high levels of community transmission through our hospital and ICU admissions and reported deaths. We need to continue to work together to drive this infection down and bring the disease back under control.”

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Sean Murray

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