Coronavirus latest: 26 more deaths; 701 new cases

Coronavirus latest: 26 more deaths; 701 new cases
HSE CEO, Paul Reid. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

A further 26 people who were diagnosed with Covid-19 in Ireland have died, taking the death toll here to 1,087.

The Department of Health has also confirmed an additional 701 cases, bringing the overall number to 19,262.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre as of midnight on Friday shows that 14% of cases so far have been hospitalised.

The median age of cases is 49, with a split of 57% female, and 42% male, with 1% undocumented.

Of those hospitalised, 349 cases have been admitted to ICU. 

The data shows that more than 27% of all cases involve healthcare workers. 

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 9,224 (50% of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,110 cases (6%).

Testing for Covid-19 will be scaled up to 100,000 per week by the middle of next month, Ireland's health chief said.

Officials are considering the best route for swabs to take to laboratories, use of the ambulance service, and automation of the process when positive results come back and notifications go out for contact tracing.

A shared "road map" on the way forward has been agreed between the health service and Government and is due to be signed off by ministers at a Cabinet meeting next week.

Health Service Executive (HSE) chief executive Paul Reid said: "We are in a much better place."

He admitted there had been "constructive tensions" with his sponsor, Department of Health, amid concerns about how exactly Ireland would reach its declared target for testing.

A total of 100,000 tests a week are expected to be reached by the third week in May, Mr Reid said, following agreement with the department on the road map and alignment of case definitions.

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