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Number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in ICU falls to 54

The latest figures show the virus’s prevalence has continued on a downward trajectory.

Image: LEAH FARRELL; RollingNews.ie

THERE ARE 54 Covid-19 patients in intensive care today, Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed.

That figure is down 67% from the peak in mid-April when around 160 people were receiving intensive care treatment.

The overall coronavirus hospital admission rate is down 66% from the peak, said Harris.

When the lockdown measures were first introduced the number of patients in ICU was 70.

The minister said Ireland’s first step out of lockdown is a crucial moment in the fight against coronavirus, warning that the country remained in the danger zone.

Ireland would end up in a “bad place” if people did not proceed with caution and tried to move ahead of what the eased restrictions allowed, said Harris.

“We have all come too far and sacrificed too much to screw it up,” he said.

Some retail outlets will open on Monday and sports like golf and tennis will resume. People will be able to meet in groups of four in outdoor locations as long as social distancing is observed.

The latest figures show the virus’s prevalence has continued on a downward trajectory.

Around 4,000 tests are currently being completed each day in Ireland. Of those, around 98% are testing negative. The 2% positivity rate is down from 25% in mid-April.

The coronavirus death toll in Ireland rose to 1,533 on Saturday, after a further 15 deaths were announced.

The 92 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed yesterday represented the lowest daily tally in two months. They took the total in Ireland since the outbreak began to 24,048.

In a series of tweets today, Harris emphasised the importance of not rushing out of lockdown.

He said he was “pleased and nervous” for the country.

Harris said he was pleased because the easing of restrictions was “recognition of incredible progress” Irish people had made in suppressing the virus.

“Nervous because this is a crucial moment – we must get it right, we must proceed with real caution,” he added.

“If, together, we carefully manage the next three weeks & follow public health advice & take so seriously the measures we need to, we could find ourselves able to move further in a few weeks.

“If we get it wrong, if we get lax with our own actions we could find ourselves in a bad place.”

He added: “We are not out of the danger zone.”

New test and tracing targets will be in operation as the lockdown starts to ease.

Ireland will also have the capacity to test 100,000 people per week from next week.

One new target is a three-day timeframe from the point of test referral to the completion of contact tracing, in 90% of positive cases.

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The other is a two-day turnaround from the point of the test swab being taken to the notification of the result.

That means of all people tested who return a negative result – currently 98% – they will be informed of that outcome within 48 hours.

Automation of the notification process is being introduced to speed up the timelines.

HSE CEO Paul Reid also asked people to continue to comply with the revised regulations.

“I would urge everybody that we can’t undo everything that we have achieved together over the last few weeks,” he said.

“So we all still have a collective duty of care to continue to protect our loved ones and to continue to protect our healthcare workers, particularly as we head into next week.”

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