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Dr Ronan Glynn: If Covid-19 cases keep increasing, it's only a matter of time before it spreads to vulnerable groups

The Acting Chief Medical Officer noted that they were monitoring the increase of cases in Dublin.

Image: Sam Boal

ACTING CHIEF MEDICAL Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland continues to increase, it will spread to older, more vulnerable parts of the population.

He also said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) are monitoring the recent increase in cases in Dublin, which accounted for 73 of the 147 cases announced today, but added that this “is not an alarm”.

Over the past 14 days there have been 1,354 cases, leading to a 14-day incidence of 28.4 per 100,000 people. Of the cases from these two weeks, the median age is 32, with 72% of cases occurring in people under the age of 45.

In response to commentary that the virus has ‘weakened’ – as there has been an increase in cases but the number of people receiving treatment in hospitals or in ICU hasn’t increased in proportion – Glynn said “That simply is not the case”.

If we think back to March, what were the factors that led us to make the recommendations that we made: We didn’t have a vaccine, we didn’t have a treatment, and when this virus spread amongst older people or those who are medically vulnerable, it killed them. None of that has changed.

He said that by and large, the majority of cases from the last few weeks were among “a younger and fitter population”. Because of this, capacity at hospitals and critical care units were not under pressure.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to get the numbers back down. Because if we allow the numbers to increase, it will only be a matter of time before it spreads into other groups. 

There were 17 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospital on Thursday; this had risen to 27 by this evening. “We have to monitor that very closely,” Dr Glynn said.

And even leaving that aside, we need to get it back down. Because for anyone whether you’re fit or healthy, whether you’re 20, 30, 40, or 50 years of age, if you get this it’s very unpredictable what your personal outcome from this will be. Many people are suffering chronic fatigue and other chronic effects of this disease.

covid 19 23 The number of cases among young people has increased in the past few weeks. Blue is children aged 0-14, orange is children aged 15-19. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

In relation to the capital, Glynn said that although he’s not “sounding any major alarm here for Dublin”, he noted there had been an increase in cases over the last number of days.

The cases are slightly higher in Dublin West, Dublin NorthWest and Dublin Central, but it’s spread across the capital. 

One in three cases in Dublin is community transmission, which is a little bit higher than the breakdown nationally, Glynn said.

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“It’s something that we’re watching closely.”

Of the total cases in the past 14 weeks, 34% of cases were in Co Dublin (427) and 24% were in Co Kildare (327).

covid 19 443 the number of cases in Dublin. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

On golfgate, when asked whether there was additional public health advice for anyone who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, Dr Ronan Glynn said they should “simply follow the public health advice”. 

“If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately, contact your GP and get a test.”

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