Latest news updates on Tuesday 19th May.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that a total of 16 people with COVID-19 have died.
There have now been a total 1,561* COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of 11am Tuesday 19 May the HPSC has been notified of 51 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 24,251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
Today’s data from the HPSC, as of midnight, Sunday 17 May (24,176 cases), reveals:
· 57% are female and 43% are male
· the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
· 3,143 cases (13%) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 390 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 7,661 cases are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,759 (49% of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,379 cases (6%) and then Cork with 1,372 cases (5%)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 60%, close contact accounts for 37%, travel abroad accounts for 3%
As of midnight Monday 18 May, 295,626 tests have been carried out.
Over the past week, 36,818 tests were carried out and of these 932 were positive, giving a positivity rate of 2.5%.
Dr. Cillian De Gascun, Chair of the NPHET Expert Advisory Group, said: “Despite broadening the case definition and increases in referrals the positivity rate has continued to decline. This indicates a consistent suppression of COVID-19 in the community.”
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet again this week. Given the decreasing positivity rate and that testing capacity has been expanded, we will be examining the case definition further.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “Today is World Family Doctor Day. GP’s continue to play a key role in Ireland’s response to this pandemic. General Practice is open and has continued to be a vital point of access to healthcare for all during this pandemic.”
There are now 1,371 confirmed cases in the midlands, an increase of five from yesterday.
Westmeath recorded two more cases, bringing the total to 656.
Offaly has also risen by two, to 461.
And the figure is no 254 in Laois, up from 253 yesterday.
The Data Protection Commission's examining complaints it has received in relation to Covid 19 test results being made available to employers before staff members.
When there are mass screenings of workers - such as in factories - the results have sometimes been given to the employer before the workers.
The Chief Medical Officer says it's a breach of confidentiality.
HSE boss Paul Reid had told the Covid Committee public health officials are allowed the discretion to inform employers about positive cases:
Individuals have expressed shock and upset at receiving their results from managers, rather than the HSE.
The DPC says it is important these issues are clarified and rectified.
Deputy Commissioner Graham Doyle says it would be expected staff would learn of the test results before management:
Management at Dublin and Cork airports are looking to cut up to one-thousand jobs, according to SIPTU.
The trade union says workers were told today that the cuts are necessary as lower passenger numbers are expected in 2021.
It is now calling for urgent discussions with the Dublin Airport Authority to ensure any redundancies are strictly voluntary.
SIPTU Sector Organiser Neil McGowan says staff are understandably very concerned:
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin says he is saddened at how those who lose loved ones during the pandemic have to mourn.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says social distancing will likely mean large ceremonies will not happen for a long time.
He says people are finding different ways to safely show their affection for someone who has died at this difficult time:
The Health Minister says he will meet with SIPTU to discuss compensating healthcare workers who’ve contracted Covid 19.
More than 7,500 frontline workers have gotten sick with the virus, which represents almost a third of all cases.
Seven of them have lost their lives.
Simon Harris says he will meet with SIPTU to discuss compensation.
Krispy Kreme in Blanchardstown in Dublin is re-opening on a phased basis.
The drive thru will re-open tomorrow for free donuts for healthcare workers, gardai and the fire brigade.
The store will re-open to the public on Monday May 25th for drive thru, takeaways and deliveries.
The Department of Health has warned COVID-19 may be with us for years rather than months.
Senior Health Officials are taking questions at the Dáil's new COVID-19 committee.
Secretary General of the Department of Health Jim Breslin has said the acute phase of the virus may be around for a long time.
He's said that will impact big decisions - like whether or not to keep the private hospitals under state control for longer:
The well-being of women is more adversely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis than men.
A CSO survey carried out last month shows that 38 per cent of woman are feeling downhearted and depressed, compared to just over a quarter of men.
Meanwhile the percentage of woman who said they have a low life-satisfaction has more than doubled from 15 per cent in 2013 to almost 37 per cent.
A greater number of women also said they were extremely concerned about their own health, somebody else’s health and maintaining social ties during the pandemic.
Some useful information on how to wear a face covering safely. Recommended that you consider using one on public transport & indoor spaces where you can’t socially distance. It is an extra hygiene measure, not an alternative to social distancing, proper hand washing etc #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/xXUX0WUvYJ— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 18, 2020
Property website MyHome.ie has launched a new service that will see estate agents hosting live video tours of homes.
"MyHome Live" will allow potential buyers to ask questions during the virtual viewing.
The platform has also been rolled out for rental properties.
The Health Minister says Covid 19 could be with us in waves for some time.
Yesterday, saw the lowest number of deaths since March while the number of new cases has been declining.
Senior health officials are appearing before a new Covid 19 Oireachtas Committee this morning.
Simon Harris says we can’t get ahead of ourselves after restrictions were eased slightly:
Offaly Hospital Receives 30,000 Facemasks From China https://t.co/3yHrXrWDdP— Midlands103 (@Midlands103) May 19, 2020
There are calls for healthcare workers who’ve contracted Covid 19 to be compensated financially.
More than 7,500 frontline workers have been sick with the virus which represents about a third of all cases.
Seven have lost their lives.
Siptu’s Paul Bell says they’re particularly concerned about those workers who responded to the ‘Be on Call for Ireland’ initiative:
So-called vulture funds account for a third of home repossession cases before the courts.
While the four main retail banks are behind almost half of cases taken against homeowners, according to a new study by NUIG.
It also revealed that one in five repossession cases taken between April and December last year belonged to Permanent TSB.
The report warned that Covid-19 could result in a new round of mortgage arrears like seen after the crash.
Financial Advisor Padraic Kissane is encouraging anyone struggling with repayments to contact their lender sooner rather than later.:
David Hall, from the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, says vulture funds are relatively new to the scene in Ireland.
But he expects they will repossess many more homes here in the coming years:
This year's Dublin Marathon has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
The race was due to be held on October 25th but it's been called off "in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of all those involved".
Organisers say they looked at a number of alternatives to run the event safely but none was viable.
A record 25-thousand people were due to take part.
US President Donald Trump has said he's taking malaria drug hudroxy cloroquine to protect himself against the worst effects of coronavirus if he should contract it.
There is no evidence it can fight off coronavirus, but clinical trials are ongoing.
Some health officials have warned that it could be unsafe.
But the US president says it's useful:
Use that five kilometres:
The public are being advised to take full advantage of the 5km limit for taking exercise.
Since last week, the distance permitted to travel outside our homes was extended from a 2km radius.
Siobhan Ni Bhrian from the HSE says it's great for mental health:
US vs WHO:
The US is threatening to pull out of the World Health Organisation because of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Donald Trump suspended the country's funding to the organisation last month.
He says after an investigation, he continues to have 'serious concerns' about its response to the virus.
The US president says he will permanently withdraw funding unless it commits to 'major improvements' in the next month.
He says America will also 'reconsider' its membership of the organisation.
The president of the European Council is welcoming a new 500 billion euro Covid-19 recovery fund.
France and Germany is proposing to give the money to EU countries worst affected by the pandemic.
It follows talks between French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday.
European Council president Charles Michel says it's a 'step in the right direction'.
The Chief Medical Officer and the HSE CEO will appear before a special Oireachtas Covid-19 committee later, to answer questions over their handling of the crisis so far.
It comes as last night's Department of Health figures show the lowest daily death toll increase since March 27th.
1,547 people have so far lost their lives, while there have been 24,200 cases.
Former HSE chief Tony O’Brien has raised social distancing concerns over the country's top health officials appearing at a lengthy Dáil committee today.
But CMO Dr. Tony Holohan says he wouldn't attend if he didn't feel the meeting was safe:
There's been no increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the midlands.
Offaly has 459 confirmed cases of coronavirus, while Laois remains on 253 cases confirmed.
The number of cases in Westmeath has dropped, after one case re-evaluated.
There are now 654 confirmed cases in the county.
The Department of Health says cases can be reviewed by address and may be reassigned to another county.