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Sam Boal/
daily update

Coronavirus: 3,666 new cases confirmed in Ireland

The Tánaiste says in the last couple of days, the positivity rate has started to level off.

LAST UPDATE | 23 Nov 2021

PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS have confirmed 3,666 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

As of 8am today, there were 638 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of whom 130 were in ICUs.

Yesterday, 5,634 new cases were confirmed, with 684 Covid-19 patients in hospital, including 126 in ICU.

NPHET reported last Wednesday that a further 43 Covid-related deaths had been notified in the previous week, bringing the number of people who have died with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland to 5,609.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said everyone is “very concerned” about the situation, but said the hospital numbers are “manageable”. 

The numbers on trolleys are about 40% lower than they would have been pre-pandemic around this time of year, he added.

However, he said the “real pinch points” are the ICU numbers, which are continuing to rise.

“That’s a particular concern. Obviously, we’ve additional capacity in the private hospitals, we’ve surge capacity as well, but you know, at any point of time when a third of patients are in ICU with one illness, that’s not normal. And that’s a matter of particular concern for us at the moment.

“I do think we’re in a very different position than we were last winter, or earlier on in the year, over 90% of the population are fully vaccinated. If you get this virus, the risk of dying from it is a tenth or twentieth of what it was this time last year because of the vaccines,” he added, stating that the government will continue to encourage anyone who’s not vaccinated to get the vaccine for that reason.

Varadkar said the government “certainly can’t rule out the introduction of new restrictions over the course of the next couple of weeks. But we do want to avoid that”. 

“In the last couple of days, we’ve seen the positivity rate starting to level off, perhaps the cases starting to level off but it’s too early to say that now. We’d like to give another week or two to see how things go. But unfortunately, not possible to rule out anything at this stage.

“But we will, as a government seek to avoid re-imposing extreme restrictions if we can at all, because you know, we know the reality of what will happen. Once they’re eased, the virus will come back again.

“And that’s the reality of the situation. So we’d like to get us to an equilibrium where there’s enough immunity built up between vaccines, third doses and also infection acquired or natural immunity that we don’t need to have restrictions at all,” said Varadkar.

A new survey has found that almost half of all adults in the country have cancelled social events that were planned between now and Christmas.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said this evening: “We know that the level of worry has increased to levels last seen in April this year. 

“We know what we are asking people to do to help suppress the spread of disease in our communities is very difficult. If we all make a concerted effort it can make a difference.

Our research tells us that people are listening to the public health advice and are reducing the number of people they are planning to meet, and are cancelling social events, to reduce their contacts.

Dr Holohan advised people to focus on five actions to reduce risk and keep safe over the next few weeks:

  1. If you have cold or flu like symptoms, isolate immediately and get a PCR test, not an antigen test
  2. Prioritise who you need to meet
  3. Meet others outdoors and open windows when indoors
  4. Wear a mask properly
  5. Use the right test and understand what the test result means.

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