The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan has described the current Covid-19 disease trends as “gravely concerning” with more than 3,800 new cases notified in the last seven days.
This evening, health authorities said 727 new Covid-19 cases had been reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) up to midnight last night including 44 in Cork.
Of the new cases there were also 311 in Dublin, 51 in Kilkenny, 48 in Wexford, 44 in Donegal and the remaining 229 cases are spread across 19 other counties.
There have been no new deaths reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre today.
Speaking this evening, Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “The situation has deteriorated rapidly in recent days. A total of 3,837 cases have been notified in the past 7 days. The five day rolling average has increased from 339 on 17th December to 616 on 21st December, an 82% increase. It is now as important as it was back in March to limit your contacts and protect your loved ones.
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that “we’re clearly now in a third wave” of the pandemic.
“The virus is transmitting very rapidly, faster than we have seen at any point since March. The case numbers are growing at least 5-7% per day and, of particular concern, across all age groups,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said that to date, the novel SARS-CoV-2 UK variant has not been detected in Ireland. “However, as we know the variant has been circulating in the UK since September, therefore we cannot exclude the possibility that the variant is already in Ireland. We are prioritising the sequencing of cases with confirmed or suspected links to the UK,” he said.
As of 2pm today 241 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 29 are in ICU. 18 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours have been reported.