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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020
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Two more deaths and 219 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Ireland

Both patients were male and in the east of the country.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan
Image: RollingNews.ie

HEALTH CHIEFS HAVE confirmed a further 219 new cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of cases here to 1,125. 

Two more deaths were also confirmed, meaning six people have died from Covid-19 here. Both patients were male and in the east of the country.

At a press conference at the Department of Health in Dublin this evening, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) had not been informed of any underlying health conditions in these cases.

He said the six deaths do not include any healthcare workers, to his knowledge. 

The figures are correct as of 1pm today.

The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Today’s data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), as of midnight, Saturday 21 March (836 cases), shows the following:

  • 55% are male and 44% are female, with 37 clusters involving 210 cases
  • the median age of confirmed cases is 44 years
  • 239 cases (29%) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 25 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 208 cases (25%) are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 471, (56% of all cases) followed by Cork with 104 cases (12%)
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 45%, close contact accounts for 23%, travel abroad accounts for 31%

New research 

Research conducted on behalf of the Department of Health shows that more than 93% of the population are washing their hands more often as a result of coronavirus.

The nationally representative online survey of 1,270 adults conducted today, and will be conducted twice weekly, reveals the following:

  • 88% of people say they are staying at home, rather than going out
  • 84% of people say they are practicing social distance in a queue
  • 71% of people say they are sitting further apart from others
  • 75% are confident they would know what steps to take if they developed symptoms and 90% know the two most common symptoms (fever and/or cough)

If you are experiencing symptoms, such as fever and cough, the advice is to self-isolate and call your GP who will guide you.

Speaking this morning, Health Minister Simon Harris said new cases of Covid-19 have “fewer close contacts” than before which shows people are making an effort in social distancing

As of yesterday, about 40,000 in Ireland were waiting to have a Covid-19 test. Most people have to wait four to five days for testing but some are waiting longer.

Holohan said testing is being ramped up this week to get through the backlog but that there is a huge demand. “We are on the way to increasing that capacity substantially,” Holohan said. 

He was unable to confirm how long a sample lasts on  a swab after the test is carried out. He said the advice for people who are waiting for tests remains the same, regardless of when the test is done or if it needs to be redone – to self-isolate per the HSE guidelines

Saving lives 

Speaking this evening via a livestream on Twitter, Health Minister Simon Harris said that while most people are practising social distancing, “we do need to do better, particularly in outdoor spaces and also in certain workplace where social distancing is not being practised”.

Harris said the contact-tracing process that takes place when a person is diagnosed with Covid-19 shows most people are adhering to the guidelines, as people have fewer close contacts than those who were diagnosed a couple of weeks ago.

“Tonight, tomorrow, can you please keep doing what you are doing – it is making a difference, I want you to know this,” Harris said.

“That means, we the Irish people, are slowing the spread of this virus and we must do as much as we possibly can of that.” 

Harris said the goal is to flatten the curve of the virus and, by doing so, save lives and help frontline healthcare workers.

“That’s the prize here, that’s what we’re all working for – how can we save as many lives as possible?”

Harris also encouraged people to look after their mental health and get out for a walk or run if they can but to observe social distancing - staying at least two metres away from other people – while doing so. 

With reporting by Rónán Duffy and Sean Murray 

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Órla Ryan

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