Two more patients with COVID-19 (coronavirus) have died in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of deaths here to six, the Department of Health has confirmed.
Both patients were males in the east of the country.
Meanwhile, 219 new cases of the virus have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 1,125.
A further 20 new cases have also been reported in Northern Ireland, bringing its total to 148. Two people have died of the virus in the North.
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre revealed that of the 836 cases confirmed to it by midnight on March 21, 239 had been hospitalised and 25 of these had been admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).
Some 36% of all hospitalisations had occurred in the 65+age group.
Overall, almost one in four cases had occurred in healthcare workers.
The worst affected county remained Dublin (471 cases), followed by Cork (104) and Galway (33). Seven counties still had fewer than five cases, including Cavan, Leitrim and Wexford.
Meanwhile, research conducted on behalf of the Department of Health found that 93% of people are washing their hands more often as a result of COVID-19.
The nationally representative online survey of 1,270 adults, which was conducted on March 23, and will be conducted twice a week, also found that:
-88% of people said they are staying at home rather than going out
-84% of people said they are practising social distance when queueing for something
-71% of people said they are sitting further apart from others
-75% are confident they would know what steps to take if they developed symptoms of COVID-19.
-90% know the two most common symptoms (fever and/or cough).
"We understand the anxiety this outbreak may be causing people. All aspects of our public health advice are constantly reviewed by the National Public Health Emergency Team and we will not hesitate to take more measures where necessary, based on epidemiological evidence, and in proportion with Ireland's experience of this outbreak," commented the department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan.
Meanwhile, according to the department's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, the key thing that everybody should do if they are experiencing symptoms is self isolate.
"While we continue to increase testing in Ireland, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, the most important action that can be taken against this virus is isolation and social distancing," he said.
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.
For more information on COVID-19, click here.
*Pictured is the HSE's COVID-19 testing centre at Croke Park, Dublin
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