6 more deaths from COVID, 612 new cases

"Concrete reasons for hope and optimism"
  • Deborah Condon

Six more deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed, along with 612 new cases of the virus.

This brings the total number of deaths here to 4,319 and the total number of cases to 219,952.

Of the 612 new cases, 289 occurred in Dublin, 45 in Limerick, 34 in Longford, 33 in Galway and 26 in Kildare.

As of 8am on Sunday, there were 554 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in hospital, 133 of whom were in ICU. There had been an additional 19 hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of February 25, a total of 409,529 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered - 271,594 first doses and 137,935 second doses.

This time last year, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in the Republic of Ireland, and according to the Department of Health's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, since then, "our lives have changed in ways we never thought possible".

"More than 6,300 people on our island have lost their lives with COVID-19. We remember them, and their families and friends, as well as the many people who remain seriously ill or who are dealing with long-term health issues because of this disease.

"The response of colleagues across all parts of our health system has been remarkable. We should be extraordinarily proud, and take great heart from the dedication and resilience which has been, and continues to be, shown by everyone involved in this response," he commented.

He acknowledged that while last spring, "we met the challenge presented to us with collective enthusiasm", this enthusiasm "has understandably waned". However, he insisted that there are "concrete reasons for hope and optimism now than at any time over the last 12 months".

Dr Glynn pointed that Ireland has recorded week-on-week reductions in case numbers over the last six weeks "and we are on track to have an incidence which is among the lowest in Europe".

Furthermore, the number of people in hospital with COVID has fallen by 38% over the last fortnight.

He noted that we now have access to three highly effective vaccines "with more on the way", and evidence is mounting that these vaccines, as well as stopping people getting sick, also help to stop people passing the virus onto others.

He said that while new variants have brought uncertainty, the existing vaccines perform well against them and "work is already underway to develop booster versions should they be required".

"We still have a way to go. Our case numbers are still far too high and we must continue to do all we can to suppress this disease over the coming weeks. But if we can do this successfully through March, our focus will begin to turn to what we can do, rather than what we cannot.

"Yes, we need to be cautious and yes, there will be challenges over the coming months. But together, through science and solidarity, we will get through this and this pandemic will end," Dr Glynn 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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