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Covid-19: 20,110 new confirmed cases, 682 in hospital and 86 in ICU

The latest figures were reported by the Department of Health today.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn.
Image: RollingNews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE confirmed a further 20,110 cases of Covid-19 in this country. 

As of 8am, 682 people were in hospital with the virus, 86 of whom were in intensive care.

Yesterday, 20,554 new cases of the virus were reported, 619 people were in hospital with Covid-19 including 88 in ICU. 

The spike in cases caused by Christmas socialising and the more transmissible Omicron variant represents the largest wave of Covid-19 infection faced by this country. 

NPHET has warned that the PCR testing system has been overwhelmed by the volume of the disease in the country this week, and that the true volume of cases is up to 40% higher.

Changes to guidelines around who should seek a PCR test were announced yesterday in a bid to ease the pressure on the system, including advice for symptomatic people in younger age groups to instead take regular antigen tests and only seek a PCR test if they receive a positive antigen result first.

The hospitalisation figures released each evening include details of people who were either admitted to hospital with Covid-19 or received a ‘detected’ result while in hospital.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said this week that over 90% of people in hospital and ICU with Covid-19 are there for the management of the disease, with less than 5% of those in hospital or intensive care have ‘incidental’ (asymptomatic, non-infectious) disease

Speaking earlier today, Holohan said the vaccination and booster programmes are providing “substantial protection against severe disease” but that there are “early signs” that the surge in cases over the past 7-10 days is translating into increased hospitalisations. 

Holohan therefore urged people not to meet in large numbers this evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve. 

‘There are many reasons for cautious optimism’

On the release of the daily figures, Holohan said that there are reasons for “cautious optimism” in 2022.

“Advances in science and public health including the development of new treatments like antivirals and monoclonal antibodies and the continued evolution of our understanding of this virus give us grounds to hope that 2022 may be a better year from a Covid point of view than either 2020 or 2021.”

However, he said that the number of confirmed cases remains “very high” and the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital is continuing to increase.

“I know many people have cancelled or postponed planned social and family events, not just for News Year’s Eve, but right throughout the Christmas period,” Holohan said.

The occasions in life we most look forward to have been changed utterly by this pandemic. However, these collective efforts are necessary to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our health service.

“It is timely today to remember all of those who continue to contribute so much to our response to Covid-19, particularly the individual and collective efforts of our frontline healthcare workers who are now facing into a third year of pandemic response.

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“We also remember those who have sadly died with Covid-19 in Ireland since the beginning of this pandemic, along with their families and loved ones who are grieving their loss.

“We must all remember that it is our collective, national response and the ongoing and extraordinary sacrifices each one of us is making that will break the chains of transmission, minimise the pressure on our health service, ensure that as few families as possible are similarly impacted in 2022 and lead to brighter days ahead.”

With reporting by Lauren Boland

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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