Coronavirus: One Further Death And 520 New Cases Confirmed

National News 22nd March 2021.

Latest figures:

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 1 additional death related to COVID-19.

There has been a total of 4,588 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

As of midnight, Sunday 21st March, the HPSC has been notified of 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 231,119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

Of the cases notified today:

• 258 are men / 262 are women

• 79% are under 45 years of age

• The median age is 28 years old

• 242 in Dublin, 36 in Meath, 30 in Offaly, 29 in Kildare, 25 in Wicklow and the remaining 158 cases are spread across 20 other counties*.

As of 8am today, 359 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 81 are in ICU. 14 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of March 19th 2021, 668,529 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland:

• 487,466 people have received their first dose

• 181,063 people have received their second dose

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “It is a very welcome development to see new visitation guidance for nursing homes coming into effect from today. As we begin to experience the benefits of vaccination, it is a reminder of what we are collectively working towards, a vaccination rollout that, along with our other protective measures, will end this pandemic.

“People have worked exceptionally hard over the past three months to reduce transmission in our communities. We have shown time and again that we can act collectively to protect one another. Please keep this going over the coming weeks.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said; “For the week of the 7th-13th of March, 60% of disease incidence is taking place through close contact transmission and 24% in the community. 59% of transmissions are occurring in households. Outside of the household, almost half of transmissions are occurring in social gatherings and the workplace.”

Dr. Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said: “The B117 variant, Ireland’s most dominant variant of COVID-19 accounts for more than 90% of our cases and is extremely transmissible. Public health advice aims to limit the opportunities this virus has to spread, and it should be noted that B117 does not need much opportunity to do so. The most effective way to stop the spread of this variant and all variants of COVID-19 is to limit your social contacts and follow public health advice.”

Dr Máirín Ryan, Deputy CEO of HIQA and Director of Health Technology Assessment, said: “Today, HIQA published an international review on public health measures and strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19. Ireland took a robust approach from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and maintained low hospitalisations and ICU admissions per million population when compared to other countries.

“All countries with a published risk framework that is applied at national level are currently operating at the highest risk level.

“All countries included in the report have launched their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with Israel having the largest share of its population fully vaccinated (47.5%) followed by Switzerland (4.3%) and Denmark (4.2%). In Ireland 3.3% of the population were fully vaccinated by the 12th of March.”

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community including daily data on Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

*County data should be considered provisional as the national Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System (CIDR) is a dynamic system and case details are continually being validated and updated.

Today’s cases, 5-day moving average of new cases, 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population and new cases in last 14 days (as of midnight 21 March 2021) (incidence rate based on Census 2016 county population)

County

Today's cases**

(to midnight 21Mar2021)

5-Day Moving Average of New Cases

14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population

(to 21Mar2021)

New Cases during last 14 days

(to 21Mar2021)

Ireland

520

580

157.1

7,481

Offaly

30

29

424.6

331

Longford

<5

8

269.1

110

Westmeath

6

9

138.6

123

Laois

8

9

90.9

77

Cases:

The five-day moving average of Covid-19 cases has risen from 559 to 587 in the past week.

The Department of Health confirmed 769 new cases last night, which is the highest number since the end of February, while two more deaths associated with the disease were reported.

Last night in public hospitals there were 366 people with the virus, which is a three percent increase from last Sunday.

Associate Professor at Trinity College and member of I-SAG which advocates for zero-Covid is Tomás Ryan - he says restrictions are working in some counties, but not in all:

Nursing Homes:

Residents at long-term care facilities and nursing homes will be allowed two visits per week from today.

Since December, some visits were allowed on compassionate grounds.

From today nursing home residents can have two visits per week on general compassionate grounds, once there's a high level of vaccination in the facility

There is no requirement to limit each visit to less than one hour.

Sage Advocacy says the country's 30,000 nursing home residents and their families are looking forward to safe, meaningful reunions together. 

It says visiting arrangements have been a key issue since last March when Covid-19 was first reported in nursing homes. 

Since then, residents have had limited or often no contact at all with their loved ones. 

It says the new guidance today is a very welcome first step and it's urging nursing homes to respect and comply with the latest guidance.

Quarantine:

Mandatory hotel quarantine is expected to begin later this week for air passengers from 33 countries - despite the advice of health officials.

Minutes from a National Public Health Emergency Meeting last month show the group wanted to quarantine arrivals from all countries.

People coming to Ireland from the designated areas will have to stay in a hotel for 14 days, or face a fine or jail-time.

The contract for the system has been signed by the Tifco Hotel Group. 

Social Democrats Co-Leader Catherine Murphy says the Government has been dragging its heels on bringing the measure in:

Vaccine Exports: 

Up to 75-thousand people are to be vaccinated this week as injections for over-75s ramps-up.

It comes as a vaccine export ban from the EU is now firmly on the agenda ahead of a European Council meeting on Thursday. 

Britain's NHS was able to inject a record number on Saturday -- reaching nearly 850,000 people at a rate of 27 jabs a second. 

That's more in one day than the all the doses given by the HSE in Ireland since December. 

Little wonder then, that the tough talk on a vaccine export ban has only intensified. 

It's understood British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lobby EU heads of state ahead of Thursday's Council of Europe meeting to try and avert the ban. 

At home, the HSE says 1,000 GPs will give between 70,000 and 75,000 shots this week, with a focus on those aged between 75 and 79. 

Hospital vaccine clinics are already back at work giving the AstraZeneca formula -- but it's thought it could take up to two weeks to catch up after last week's delay to 30-thousand of them. 

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