A further 27 people with COVID-19 have died

Leaving Cert will not go ahead in summer
  • Deborah Condon

A further 27 people with COVID-19 have died in the Republic.

One previous death that had been classed as COVID-related has been denotified, so the number of deaths stands at 1,429.

Some 156 new cases of the virus have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 22,541.

A breakdown of the cases and deaths to date shows that of the 1,429 deaths, 956 occurred in people over the age of 80, with 652 of these occurring in people over the age of 85.

Just 373 children aged 14 and under have contracted the virus and none have died. A further 357 people in the 15-19 age group have contracted the virus and less than five have died. (The specific number was not given out by the Department of Health for the purpose of patient confidentiality.)

There appeared to be a high rate of recovery among the 50-54 age group, with 1,949 cases, but just 13 deaths.

"Analysis of multiple data sources shows a continuing high level of compliance with public health measures. As we prepare for the next stages of living with this virus, we are learning new norms and behaviours, particularly how we interact in public spaces.

"Physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, safe interactions apply to all if we are to keep COVID-19 suppressed in Ireland," commented the department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan.

Meanwhile, earlier today, it was confirmed that this year's Leaving Cert exams will not go ahead during the summer.

According to the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, students will be contacted individually through their schools and given the option of received calculated grades.

If they are not happy with the calculated grades that they get, they will have the option to appeal, and if they are not satisfied with the appeal, then they will have the option to sit the Leaving Cert at a later date.

Those Leaving Cert exams will be held "at the earliest possible opportunity when it is safe to do so".

The calculated grading system will involve the students' teachers and principals, as well as a process of national standardisation to ensure that common national standards are applied.

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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