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Data in detail: Over 100,000 tests, 238 hospitalised cases, a rising 5-day incidence

NPHET is meeting this afternoon to consider additional Covid-19 restrictions.

AS NPHET MEETS this afternoon to consider further Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve put together the latest statistics – and how to find them – on how Covid-19 is spreading in Ireland and what that means. 

Daily Confirmed Cases & Incidence

The number of new daily confirmed cases has been increasing over the past few weeks, with over 1,000 new cases confirmed yesterday. On Tuesday, there were 811 new cases confirmed, 825 cases on Monday, and 814 cases on Sunday. 

According to the latest data from the HPSC, the national incidence rate is 190.66 cases per 100,000 of the population on a 14-day rolling average.

Widespread community transmission is the main driver behind the current surge in Ireland. Cross-border transmission, meanwhile, has lead to high-incidence rates in border counties like Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, prompting last night’s decision to move to Level 4 in these three counties. 

Currently there are 571 cases per 100,000 of the population in Cavan, 360 cases per 100,000 in Monaghan and 353.7 per 100,000 in Donegal, according to the latest HPSC data

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 13.22.04 - Display 2 Source: HPSC

This is compared to counties with the lowest incidence rate; Waterford has 69.7 cases per 100,000, Wicklow has 77.2 cases per 100,000. 

Elsewhere, Cork has seen a gradual increase in cases from 63 cases reported last Thursday to 118 reported yesterday. 

Dublin, which has been under restrictions for over three weeks, is a litmus test for Level 3.

On 1 October, the five-day average for Dublin was 182.2 cases per 100,000. By last Thursday, that average had dropped to 131.2 cases per 100,000. 

Although cases began to decline last week, they have since risen again with the five-day average hitting 233.2 per 100,000 yesterday. 

Meanwhile, Ireland’s 14-day incidence rate is currently higher than Italy (96.0) and more than three times that of Germany (59.6), according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). 

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 14.03.46 - Display 2 Source: ECDC

Ireland’s rate, however, remains lower than  Spain (295.9), France (321.6) and the UK (302.2). 

Hospital & ICU Capacity

According to data in the Covid-19 Hub, in the last 24 hours there have been 26 hospital admissions, 238 hospital confirmed cases, and 29 people in Intensive Care Units.

The number of hospitalised cases dropped from 240 on Monday to 214 last night but rose again today to 238. 

Speaking last week, HSE CEO Paul Reid said Ireland’s hospital system is “challenged, not overwhelmed” but warned that some hospitals will have to trigger surge capacity to facilitate Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 ventilation. 

Reid said today that some hospitals have now began tapping into that surge capacity. 

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 07.15.36 - Display 2 Source: HSE.ie

Between 29 Sept and 12 October 25% of people in hospital with Covid-19 were aged under 35 and 27% were aged 35-64.

Mercy Hospital in Cork and St. Vincent’s in Dublin are among nine hospitals across the country with no available ICU beds as of 6.30pm yesterday. 

The latest HSE data shows that of 28 acute hospitals around the country, nine facilities, including Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Kerry, Mercy Hospital and St Vincent’s did not have any available ICU beds. 

Testing & Tracing 

In the last seven days, 101,270 tests were carried out with 16,126 completed in the past 24 hours with a positivity rate of 6.2%, according to The Department of Health. 

Contact Tracing data shows increasing delays in the time it takes to complete all calls to close contacts of a confirmed case.

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 14.19.05 - Display 2 Source: HSE Dashboard

According to HSE data, the median time to complete all contact tracing calls for positive Covid-19 cases is 2.3 days – an increase from 1.8 one week ago. 

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The mean time to complete all calls is 2.8 days – an increase from 2.0 last Thursday. 

Clusters & Outbreaks

There were 522 outbreaks of Covid-19 last month with the majority of clusters originating from private households.

It brings the total number of outbreaks since the arrival of the pandemic to 4,957. Of these, 2,475 remain “open” according to the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

For an outbreak to be considered “closed”, there must be 28 days from the last case diagnosed or becoming symptomatic.

In the week to midnight on 10 October, there were 352 outbreaks in private households. During the pandemic to date, there have been 3,532 outbreaks in such settings.

New restrictions announced by government will see people advised not to visit other households for the next three weeks. Today, Minister Simon Harris referred to it as a potential “game changer” in reversing the rapid spread of the virus across the country.

The latest statistics also show 25 outbreaks in schools, bringing the total to 73.

The HPSC, however, stressed: “These outbreaks are outbreaks associated with school children +/or school staff. Transmission of Covid-19 within the school has not necessarily been established in these outbreaks.”

A further 11 outbreaks were identified in nursing homes, with a total of 40 open outbreaks in nursing homes in the country. 

In the workplace, there were 23 outbreaks notified in the past seven days, including one in a meat processing plant and five in the construction industry. The number of open workplace outbreaks is 99. 

Childcare facilities were linked to 15 outbreaks in the last week, while restaurants-cafés were linked to seven and pubs to four.  

With reporting by Sean Murray 

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