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'If you have flu-like symptoms, assume it's Covid and self-isolate', Holohan warns

He also noted that some people who have no symptoms test positive for the virus.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

IF PEOPLE HAVE flu-like symptoms, they should assume they have Covid-19, Dr Tony Holohan has said.

Speaking at the Department of Health’s press briefing today, the Chief Medical Officer said there’s no one set of symptoms “that gives you absolute proof” you have the virus.

He noted that some people who have no symptoms also test positive.

The most common set of symptoms include a fever, a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

However, Holohan said people may not experience these symptoms and still have the virus.

He said if people have any flu-like symptoms, they should assume they have Covid-19.

“If you have flu-like symptoms, or any of the symptoms that I’ve just mentioned there, you can pretty much accept that this is likely to be Covid, because we’re seeing very little of the other viruses that cause these kinds of symptoms at this time of the year.

“We think a safe assumption for anybody, if you’re having symptoms of this kind, is to assume that this is Covid and to take that basic action yourself – self-isolate, contact your GP and your GP will give you advice as to whether it is worthwhile in your individual case, performing a test or not.”

Holohan added that GPs are doing “a terrific job … under enormous pressure at the moment”.

He said the huge increase in the number of cases in recent days is “extremely concerning”.

“We haven’t been as concerned at any point in the whole pandemic as we are now.”

Six deaths and 6,110 new cases of the virus were confirmed today.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the Nphet’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said scenario models raise the possibility of 1,500-2,000 people in hospital, and 200-400 people in ICU by mid-January, “if we do not act to radically reduce transmission and incidence.

“It will take all of us, adopting the public health measures of staying home and reducing contacts, to suppress current levels of disease,” he said. 

Professor Nolan said incidence of the virus is highest among 19-24 year-olds and that incidence in over 65s has been rising since late December. 

It is estimated that Ireland’s 14-day incidence is between 700 and 800 cases per 100,000. “Right now the underlying level of disease is higher than the first wave,” said Nolan. 

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With reporting by Cónal Thomas

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