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HSE's Paul Reid says 'we are winning, it's just not over yet' as hospital numbers decline

Reid has said there has been “continued improvement” in hospital figures today.

Updated Feb 27th 2021, 1:05 PM

HSE CEO PAUL Reid has said there has been “continued improvement” in hospital figures today with 550 people now hospitalised with Covid-19, 155 of which are in ICU. 

“Our healthcare teams are exhausted. But getting their vaccination & the great signs of it reducing transmission is giving us all a second wind,” said Reid. 

“We are winning, it’s just not over yet.”

Reid’s comments come after Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn stressed that the reopening of schools from Monday cannot be interpreted as allowing for other gatherings of people, such as at the school gates or for play dates.

In a letter to parents, Glynn wrote:

“NPHET’s most significant concern is that it will be taken as a signal by parents and wider society that other forms of household mixing, and mobility are now acceptable.

“We cannot afford for this to happen at this time,” he said, emphasising again that Covid-19 is still circulating at high levels in our communities.

Please avoid congregating at school gates over the coming weeks. Please do not have play dates or organise after school activities which involve household mixing.

Meanwhile, health officials last night confirmed 776 new cases of Covid-19 and 29 more deaths. 

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The HSE has warned that the positivity rate among close contacts has increased significantly in the last number of months as the B117 variant has become more dominant in this country. The HSE has said there is a “significant difference” in close-contact positivity as the so-called UK variant now accounts for 92% of cases in this country. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne yesterday, the HSE’s Head of Test & Trace Niamh O’Beirne outlined the change over the past couple of months. “In December if you were a close contact around 12% of people would test positive, now that’s 27% and even higher again if you’re in the same household at 35%. So that’s moved quite a lot in that period of time. And we expected that as a result of a more transmissible variant,” she said. 

O’Beirne said this includes higher levels of positivity in settings where children are and among young age groups. She said this is a factor “we really need to watch”. 

She said that the HSE will be “activity working” with schools as children return to classes. 

There’s a lot of support for the schools returning from a from a public health and test and tracing perspective, so we would be very actively working with the schools. Where there is any case identified we would contact the parent first to let them know the child is positive and they usually contact the school themselves but then we will also contact school.

According to the most recent figures, as of 24 February, 391,355 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland. A total of 254,948 people have received their first dose and 136,407 people have received their second dose.

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