A further 29 people with COVID-19 have died

The number of new cases and deaths is falling
  • Deborah Condon

A further 29 people with COVID-19 have died in the Republic.

According to the Department of Health, one death that had previously been classed as a COVID death has been denotified, so the current number of deaths stands at 1,403.

A further 137 new cases of the virus have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases here to 22,385.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that of the 22,186 cases notified to it as of midnight on May 5, 57% of cases were female and 43% male.

Some 2,891 people have been hospitalised and of these 376 have been admitted to ICU.

Almost 6,500 cases are associated with healthcare workers.

According to the department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, the reproduction number (R0 or r-nought) is now between 0.5 and 0.6.

The R0 represents how many people the average person with the virus is likely to infect in a completely susceptible population. The higher the R0, the faster the disease spreads. For example, an R0 of three means that each person with the virus is likely to infect three others. An R0 of one means they are likely to infect one other person.

"We have achieved our goal of suppressing the spread of the disease. It was not easy for anyone, but there is no question that our collective effort has saved lives.

"Now we look to the pattern of COVID-19 going forward as we attempt to ease restrictions. These weeks are just as important as the first weeks of our response. Our behaviours are crucial in maintaining our progress and keeping the reproduction number below one," Dr Holohan insisted.

Meanwhile, according to the chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's (NPHET) Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Prof Philip Nolan, the number of new cases, ICU admissions and deaths "is now falling and has been for over a week".

There are currently 76 patients with COVID-19 in ICUs. At its peak, there were 140 people with the virus in ICUs.

"This is driven by a reduction of transmission of the virus in the community and reinforces the importance of our behaviours going forward," Prof Nolan commented.

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 fever, a persistent cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

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.

Current restrictions in relation to COVID-19 are now in place until May 18. As part of these restrictions, everybody is being asked to stay at home, except in specific circumstances. These include:
-Travelling to and from work in circumstances where the work is an essential health, social care or other essential service that cannot be done from home
-To shop for essential food and household goods
-To attend medical appointments
-For vital family reasons, such as caring for children or elderly people
-To take brief individual exercise within your locality, which may include children from your household, however this should be within 5km of your home.

All public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, while those over the age of 70 and medically vulnerable people, who are cocooning, can now leave their homes for exercise, as long as they stay within 5km of their home and maintain social distancing at all times.

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, is running a national support line for older people facing difficulties due to COVID-19. The support line is open every day from 8am to 8pm, call 0818 222 024.

For more information on COVID-19, click here.

 


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