Number of COVID deaths exceeds 1,500

However spread of virus is decreasing
  • Deborah Condon

A further 10 people with COVID-19 have died in the Republic.

One death that had previously been classed as COVID-related has been denotified, so the number of deaths now stands at 1,506.

Meanwhile, 426 new cases of the virus have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases here to 23,827. This jump in cases is due to one hospital only reporting all of its accumulated cases since March today.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that of the 23,259 cases reported to it as of midnight on May 12, 3,053 (13%) have been hospitalised and of these, 387 have been admitted to ICU.

Some 7,123 cases are associated with healthcare workers.

Over 11,000 cases have occurred in Dublin, which is 49% of all cases nationwide.

According to the chairperson of the National Public Health Emergency Team's (NPHET) Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Prof Philip Nolan, the reproduction number (R0 or r-nought) of the virus is currently between 0.4 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.

"All indicators of the spread of COVID-19 are decreasing, including the average number of cases per day, number of people in hospital and ICU, admissions to ICU and number of reported deaths per day.

"This is reinforced by our estimate reproduction number, which is currently stable between 0.4 and 0.6. We will be monitoring this figure and the overall number of infections in the population very closely over the coming weeks," he commented.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that NPHET met today "and has given further advice to Government".

"We still want to see progress over the coming days. We need to continue our physical distancing and hygiene measures if we are to continue to suppress the spread of the disease," 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 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.

The current restrictions in relation to COVID-19 are now in place until May 18. As part of these restrictions, everybody is 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.

Those over the age of 70 and medically vulnerable people continue to be cocooned, however since May 5, those over the age of 70 can leave their home for exercise, as long as they stay within 5km of their home and socially distance themselves from everybody.

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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