77 more deaths from COVID, 1,910 more cases

Hospital infection rates "out of control" - INMO
  • Deborah Condon

Another 77 deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed, along with 1,910 new cases.

This brings the total number of deaths here to 2,947 and the total number of cases to 186,184.

Of the 77 deaths reported, 76 occurred this month and the median age of those who died was 84 years.

Of the 1,910 new cases, 710 occurred in Dublin, 150 in Cork, 103 in Meath, 102 in Limerick and 86 in Louth.

As of 2pm on Saturday, 1,892 people were in hospital with confirmed COVID, 217 of whom were in ICU. There had been 59 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

According to the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, thanks to the works of families and communities, "we are beginning to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection".

"Each individual effort to follow the public health advice is making an impact, but we can only continue this positive trend and drive down incidence in the community by continuing to stay at home and avoid meeting or mixing with others in our social circle, including for any close family gatherings, such as birthdays or funerals, as these can be ‘super-spreader' events," he commented.

He reminded people that it is possible to have COVID-19 without displaying any symptoms, "so we all need to behave as though we are infectious and minimise our close contacts with others".

"If you suspect that you might be ill, isolate away from others in your household, let your close contacts know and come forward for testing as soon as possible," Dr Holohan added.

Earlier, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) insisted that hospital infection rates were "out of control". It noted that almost 2,000 healthcare workers have caught the virus over two weeks in outbreaks traced directly to their workplaces.

The organisation is calling for "urgent upgrades to safety measures", including:
-A national requirement that high-standard FFP2 masks are used in all healthcare settings, not just basic surgical masks
-That the distance between beds be increased from the current one metre minimum to two metres
-Regular COVID testing for all staff in healthcare settings on a rolling basis.

"We should not have to campaign for basic safety measures in our hospitals, yet we are seeing precious little progress from the HSE. Hospital infection rates are out of control. This is directly harming frontline staff and depleting rosters.

"The HSE need to take control and issue strong national guidance to increase safety standards. Our members are furious that while many wait to get even their first vaccine, HSE policy is leaving them exposed to the virus," commented INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.


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