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Additional supports for Covid testing in some counties as positivity rises in community

Yesterday around 17,000 tests were done in the community.
Oct 12th 2021, 6:23 PM 15,881 4

HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE closely monitoring Covid rates as positivity in the community increases, with the demand for testing also rising.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, HSE National Lead for Testing and Tracing Niamh O’Beirne said the positivity rate in the community is currently at 10%.

Positivity is higher in some counties, including Kerry (15%), Monaghan (13%), Donegal (13%) and Waterford (15%).

O’Beirne said due to increased testing demand in some of these areas additional supports have been put in place.

She said the downward trend in testing began to reverse six days ago and there are more symptomatic people coming forward for testing. Yesterday around 17,000 tests were done in the community.

Household positivity is at 25% and as people are mixing more, social activities are also among the top outbreak settings, she said.

Today 1,466 new cases of Covid-19 were reported and there are 402 patients with the disease in hospital, with 73 of those patients being treated in ICU. 

Covid hospitalisation numbers are at their highest since March and O’Beirne said increasing case numbers may result in increase hospitalisations.

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“We’re starting to see the median age of those Covid-positive change – that was age 27 a few weeks ago, it’s now 34,” she said.

“What that is showing us is that more people who are older are turning up positive, so less in the teenage ages and up to the twenties and thirties, and more people over the age of 65 turning up Covid positive. Potentially those people would be sicker.”

She said people in their 30s, 40s, 50s are more likely, if they are not vaccinated, to end up in hospital. Between 40% and 50% of Covid patients in hospital are unvaccinated and 69% of Covid patients in ICU are not vaccinated.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will meet next week to assess the current situation ahead of the planned lifting of most Covid restrictions on 22 October.

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Michelle Hennessy

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