National news updates on Thursday 6th August.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that 5 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland have died.
There has now been a total of 1,768 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of midnight Wednesday 5th August, the HPSC has been notified of 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 26,372 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today;
- 37 are men / 31 are women
- 65% are under 45 years of age
- 39 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case
- 2 cases have been identified as community transmission
- 22 cases are located in Offaly, 19 in Kildare, 8 in Laois, 6 in Dublin, and 14 are spread across eight other counties (Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Louth, Meath and Wexford).
The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.
Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “Over the past fourteen days, 226 cases have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases in Ireland over that time period.
“While the majority of these cases can be accounted for by outbreaks, this volume of cases is significant and our main priority now is to ensure that these outbreaks do not lead to widespread community transmission in the region.
“NPHET continues to monitor the situation closely. I urge people in these counties to remain vigilant to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in these areas.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said; “We have seen a significant increase in the incidence of COVID-19 over the past week. The reproduction number for the virus is now estimated to be 1.8. A reproduction number of almost 2 is a serious concern, and although we have not yet seen a significant increase in community transmission, there is a significant risk this could develop over the coming days and weeks emphasising the need for each of us to be extremely cautious that we do not contribute to the transmission of the virus.”
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said; “Public Health teams have been informed of the locations of these outbreaks as is routine and contact tracing and testing is taking place as appropriate. Our focus now is on controlling these outbreaks and taking action as necessary.
“We also need people to continue to follow our public health advice and avoid crowds, especially indoors, and limit the number of people you meet. The Department of Health and HSE launched the next phase of our communications campaign today encouraging people to keep up the protective behaviours of physical distancing, washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering where appropriate and downloading the COVID-19 Tracker app.”
If Covid-19 enters student residences at universities it can spread quickly, according to new guidelines.
The roadmap for the re-opening of third level recommends the wearing of masks in lecture halls when social distancing isn't possible.
It also recommends colleges to have alternative accommodation to deal with outbreaks in residences as they are "dense congregated settings" which are unsupervised, while students will be encouraged to look out for symptoms of others.
Lorna Fitzpatrick, President of the Union of Students in Ireland, says there was no input from students into shaping the guidelines:
College students could have to wear facemasks in lecture halls, under new guidelines.
Irish Universities Association Director General Jim Miley says students want to be in college as much as possible when the semester starts:
Teachers want guidance on whether or not facemasks should be made mandatory in secondary schools.
Masks are already compulsory on all public transport and the rules will include shops and shopping centres from next Monday.
Kieran Christie, General Secretary of the ASTI, says the advice about masks has changed over the last few weeks and teachers want clarity on the issue:
Without a change to Phase 3 - we could experience a situation like in Melbourne or Aberdeen, according to a health expert.
50 new cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health yesterday - with the majority of new infections in people below the age of 45.
The Australian state of Victoria is still in lockdown following a spike in coronavirus, while in Aberdeen people are being confined to within eight kilometres of their homes.
Tomas Ryan is an associate professor in Trinity College - he says there needs to be a change:
The country's strategy with Covid-19 is not working and we don't have a control of the virus, according to Professor Ryan.
He says there needs to be a change in policy to stop the spread: