Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer

Covid cases falling but still ten times higher than on Dec 1

The deaths of 51 more people, related to COVID-19, have been reported this evening by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), as well as 2,608 new confirmed cases of the virus.

The number of new cases reported in County Cavan this evening is 47; while a further 34 were confirmed in County Monaghan.

It brings the 14-day incidence rate of the virus in the Breffni county to 1,058.1 cases per 100,000 of population. Monaghan's rate remains the highest nationally at 2,134. The national average is 1140.7/100K.

In the daily briefing this evening, experts said 49 of the deaths notified today occurred in January and the median age of those who died is 80 – the age range of the deceased being 58 to 103 years.

The latest figures bring to 2,818 the number of people who have sadly lost their lives as a result of Coronavirus in Ireland.

The figures are up to date as of midnight on Wednesday, January 20.

There have now been a total of 181,922 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland since the virus was first confirmed here on February 29, 2020.

Of the cases notified today:

- 1,230 are men / 1,346 are women

- 55% are under 45 years of age

- The median age is 42 years old

- There were 1,019 cases in Dublin, 204 in Cork, 135 in Donegal, 132 in Galway, 131 in Kildare, and the remaining 987 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of 2pm today, 1,943 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, 214 of which are in Intensive Care Units. There have been 105 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “While we are making clear progress in reducing incidence, we can see we still have a very large burden of infection. To illustrate this, on December 1st when we last eased restrictions, our five-day moving average was 261 cases per day. Today it is almost ten times that number at 2,430 cases per day.

“It is evident that the population is working as one to reduce contacts and interrupt further transmission of the disease. However, we are witnessing the effects of high levels of community transmission through our hospital and ICU admissions and reported deaths. We need to continue to work together to drive this infection down and bring the disease back under control.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, Department of Health, said there have been 532 deaths so far in January. “We can unfortunately expect this trend to continue over the coming days. Limiting contacts, keeping physical distance from others, hand hygiene, appropriate use of face coverings and general awareness about how your interactions could potentially spread infection will ultimately prevent further morbidity. Following public health advice will directly save lives.”

The reproductive rate or 'R' number has fallen to between 0.5 and 0.8.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “We have to keep it below 1.0 if we are to successfully emerge out of this current wave.”

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