People urged to be cautious this weekend

85 new cases of COVID came as a "surprise"
  • Deborah Condon

Health officials are urging people to follow public health guidance over the Bank Holiday weekend, after 85 new cases of COVID-19 were notified on Thursday.

According to the Department of Health's acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, the high number came as a "surprise" and clearly demonstrates how quickly the virus can re-emerge.

The 85 new cases brought the total number of cases here to 26,027. Fifty-three of the cases occurred in men and 32 in women, and over two-thirds were in people under the age of 45.

The highest number of cases was found in Kildare (26) and it has now emerged that this is related to an outbreak at a factory, which has been closed since July 24 as a result. This factory outbreak is also associated with clusters in Direct Provision centres.

Outbreak control teams are in place in both the factory and the Direct Provision centres, Dr Glynn noted.

He said that while the figures came as a surprise, "the vast majority of these cases we can account for and we know where they have come from".

"However, clearly we need to watch this extremely closely. We need to see in particular what happens on Friday and Saturday," he pointed out.

He urged people to continue to follow the public health guidance.

"Particularly as we go into this Bank Holiday weekend, it really is time for people to reassess, look at what is happening internationally, look at these numbers. We need to make decisions throughout the day, every day, and try to control this.

"Over the coming days, it is vital that everyone continues to avoid large crowds, physically distance, wear face coverings where appropriate and wash hands regularly," Dr Glynn said.

Also speaking about the figures, the chief executive of the HSE, Paul Reid, said that Thursday's high number of cases are a concern, "but they do not need to be a trend".

"The performance of this virus is all about what we do today. Enjoy your weekend, keep your distance, wear a mask. Don't be scared, but be diligent and be safe," he said.

The risk factors for getting COVID-19 are:

-Distance - keep two metres apart where possible
-Activity - how you spend time with people and what you do with them can increase your risk. Follow the Government's Stay Safe Guidelines when spending time with others. View these here
-Time - the more time you spend in close contact with other people can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Keep track of who you spend time with and how
-Environment - Being outdoors is safer than being indoors. Where possible, meet with others outdoors. If this is not possible, keep windows and doors open when meeting others inside
-Symptoms - Know the symptoms. If you have them self-isolate and contact your GP immediately. The symptoms are a fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above), a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, and flu-like symptoms.


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