R number decreasing but 'we have a long way to go' - Prof Nolan

The authorities were today been notified of 47 additional deaths related to COVID-19. Of those deaths, 46 occurred in January. The median age of those who died is 85 years and the age range is 55-99 years.

As of midnight, Wednesday, January 27, the HPSC has been notified of 1,466 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There were 11 cases reported in County Cavan, while Monaghan had 50. The Farney county has by far the greatest number per capita. Their 14 day rate per 100,000 population stands at 1,373.3, which is over double the national average of 621.9. No other county has over 1,000 cases per 100,000; Cavan's rate stands at 599.9.

Of the cases notified today nationally: 697 are men / 764 are women; 55% are under 45 years of age and the median age is 41 years old.

As of 2pm today, 1,567 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 216 are in ICU. 69 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “Incidence is falling but remains high. It is positive to see numbers of people hospitalised reducing and a stabilisation of numbers in ICU.

“However, we are continuing to experience high mortality with 878 deaths so far in January. I am concerned about the high incidence we are seeing in long-term care settings and vulnerable groups. Our efforts to stay home and break transmission of the disease will save lives. Please continue to follow the public health advice and support each other to keep going.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said; “Incidence is falling and by working collectively to reduce contacts, we have achieved suppression of transmission with the R number estimated at 0.4-0.7. We are maintaining an extraordinary effort but still we have a long way to go. We must maintain full suppression for several weeks if we are to achieve strategic options for the future. If we keep this up, we would be down to 200-400 cases per day by the end of February.”

Dr Lorraine Doherty, National Clinical Director Health Protection HSE - Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), said: “It only takes one event to spark a chain of transmission of COVID-19 that can spread through a community. We have seen examples of outbreaks in a workplace that has led to multiple outbreaks in families and other work settings, and these ultimately lead to a higher incidence in the community and threatens the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Every action an individual takes matters.”