35 more deaths from COVID, 613 new cases

Reproduction number between 0.6 and 0.9
  • Deborah Condon

Thirty-five more deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed, along with 613 new cases of the virus.

This brings the total number of deaths here to 4,271 and the total number of cases to 217,478.

Of the 35 deaths, 21 occurred this month, 12 occurred in January, one in November and one is still under investigation.

Of the 613 new cases, 224 occurred in Dublin, 39 in Limerick, 37 in Meath, 34 in Westmeath and 33 in Offaly.

As of 8am on Thursday, there were 591 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in hospital, 138 of whom were in ICU. There had been an additional 20 hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of February 2, a total of 359,616 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered - 226,191 first doses and 133,325 second doses.

According to the Department of Health's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, the country is making "good progress".

"Many of the key indicators of disease levels in our communities are continuing to fall. This progress is the reason we are able to reopen our schools in a cautious and phased basis," he commented.

However, he reminded people that the virus is still circulating "at a high level".

"We are still seeing positivity rates of around 15% in the community. As we see more of our children return to school next week, it is important that we continue to follow all of the public health guidance, including on the school run," he noted.

Dr Glynn urged everyone to continue to follow public health measures, such as social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings.

According to Prof Philip Nolan, chair of NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, the reproduction number of the virus remains below one - at between 0.6 and 0.9.

"This is a real achievement given the higher transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant, which accounts for 90% of cases. Our collective efforts to suppress transmission of the virus and bring the disease to manageable levels are having a positive impact. If we continue to work together, we can keep each other safe as the vaccination programme offers wider protection," he said.

Meanwhile, according to Dr Lucy Jessop, director of the National Immunisation Office, the vaccine is already having a "significant impact on our healthcare workers".

"In the last week in January, almost 1,400 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19. That number was less than 300 last week. This is wonderful news and clearly demonstrates the early impact the vaccination programme is having.

"However, even if you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, you must continue to wash your hands, wear a face covering, maintain a social distance and keep your close contacts to a minimum," she added.

More information on the latest figures in relation to COVID-19, including the number of people vaccinated so far, is available here.


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