A fourth person has died of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Republic of Ireland.
According to the Department of Health, the person was a male in the east of the country with an underlying health condition.
Meanwhile, 121 new cases of the virus have also been confirmed today, bringing the total in the Republic to 906.
Earlier today, it was confirmed that a second person in Northern Ireland had also died of the virus, while the number of confirmed cases there had risen to 128.
The patient who died in the North was elderly and had an underlying medical condition.
Meanwhile, data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) revealed that among the 712 cases in the Republic that had been notified to it by midnight, March 20, 30% had been hospitalised and among these, 8% were in intensive care.
Some 22% of confirmed cases overall were healthcare workers.
A breakdown of age groups revealed that five children aged four and under had the illness, including three under the age of one. Some 21% of people over the age of 65 were affected and 34% of these had been hospitalised.
Some 26% of people aged between 35 and 44 were also affected, however just 10% of these had been hospitalised.
The worst affected county remained Dublin (402), followed by Cork (101), Galway (25) and Wicklow (22). Ten counties had fewer than five cases, including Wexford, Longford and Carlow.
The department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, extended his condolences to the family and friends of the patient who had died, and urged people to keep following public health advice.
"Cases confirmed today were most likely exposed to Covid-19 prior to the introduction of the public health measures implemented on Friday, March 13. It is vital that everyone complies with the public health advice on hand and cough hygiene, working from home where possible and practising social distancing of two metres.
"Public health doctors carrying out contact tracing are advising that confirmed cases are now reporting fewer contacts, which is an encouraging sign that people are following the public health guidance," he commented.
He thanked everyone who is adhering to the public health advice.
"You are actively helping flatten the curve and limit the spread of Covid-19. Anyone waiting to be tested should act as though their test is positive and should self-isolate now, while they await testing and results," Dr Holohan added.
Around 40,000 people are currently waiting to be tested, with the wait time around five days. However, the HSE said that with more test centres due to open, and more tests becoming available, it expects this backlog to reduce in the coming days.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person's body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to show. These may include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).
COVID-19 can also cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and severe breathing difficulties. Some 80% of cases will be mild to moderate, 14% will be more severe, while 6% will be critical.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, people should:
-Practice social distancing and avoid crowded places
-Wash their hands properly and often
-Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, or cough and sneeze into their elbow
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
-Stay at home if they are sick to avoid spread of whatever infection they have.
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