The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan has voiced grave concerns over the current trajectory of Covid-19 in the community.
This evening health authorities confirmed 13 Covid-19 related deaths were reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) today.
As of midnight last night, the HPSC had been notified of 970 new cases of Covid-19.
Of the new cases, there were 348 in Dublin, 60 in Limerick, 59 in Cork, 59 in Wexford, 55 in Louth and the remaining 389 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
The median age is 37 years old and 64 per cent are under 45 years.
As of 2pm today 238 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 28 are in ICU. 23 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
The latest figures show that in the past 14 days, 367 Covid-19 cases have been reported in Cork.
The 14-Day incidence rate per 100,000 population now stands at 67.6, which remains lower than the national incidence rate of 138.2
Speaking this evening, Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “The current trajectory of the disease in the community is of grave concern. In the last seven days to midnight Monday, we have reported 4,478 cases, an increase of more than 110% over the preceding week. In the last 5 days, we have seen extraordinary growth in the incidence of the virus across the country, significantly increasing the level of risk associated with the kind of inter-generational mixing that is normally experienced over the Christmas holidays. To protect ourselves, our families and our vulnerable loved ones in particular, further economic and social restrictions will begin to be introduced from Christmas Eve. It is up to each one of us to rethink our plans for this Christmas period, especially when it comes to visiting older or more medically vulnerable family members and friends.”
He added: “With the authorisation of the first Covid-19 vaccine by the European Commission yesterday, our national vaccine programme can begin in the very near future and this gives us cause for hope. However, widespread vaccination of the population will take time, so we need to continue to adhere to the public health advice on hand washing, keeping 2m distance, wearing face coverings where appropriate, covering our coughs and reducing our social contacts for the duration of the Level 5 restrictions. By working together we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard our schools and our hospitals.”