HSE management in the Cork region are appealing to the public to continue to stay home in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 and ease pressure on the entire health system.
Acting Director of Public Health for the region, Dr Anne Sheahan, said that her department can see that the people of Cork are heeding public health advice by staying at home and avoiding contact with people outside their households.
She said, however, that the effort needs to be sustained in order to bring the spread of Covid-19 in the region under control.
“The number of close contacts reported to us by people confirmed to have Covid-19 has dropped from an average of just over six to an average of just over two in more recent days.
“This shows us that people are really heeding the advice, and we will eventually see the impact of this. We understand that it is difficult, but it is the only way to bring Covid-19 rates back to a level which don’t threaten to overwhelm the entire health system,” she said.
Dr Sheahan warned those who need to leave their homes not to presume that people they may come in contact with do not have Covid-19 when the likelihood is that “you will easily meet someone who has Covid-19 but hasn’t yet been diagnosed”.
Chair of the HSE Area Crisis Management team, Michael Fitzgerald, urged people to question whether the trip outside the home is one they really need to make or can it be avoided.
“We all have a role to play right now in protecting our hospitals, our nursing homes and our healthcare workers,” he said.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 28 additional deaths related to COVID-19.
26 of these deaths occurred in January 2021. The date of death for 2 of these reported death remains under investigation.
There has been a total of 2,488 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of midnight, Wednesday 13th January, the HPSC has been notified of 3,955 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 163,057 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today: 1,826 are men and 2,115 are women.
54% are under 45 years of age the median age is 42 years old 1,210 are in Dublin, 456 in Cork, 235 in Louth, 221 in Meath, 218 in Limerick, and the remaining 1,615 cases are spread across all other counties.
As of 2pm today, 1,789 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 169 are in ICU. 154 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “Today we are giving some more information on the 208 people who have been reported to have sadly died from COVID-19 so far this month. Of these, 23 cases have been linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 38 with outbreaks in Nursing Homes. The ages of those who have died range from 25 to 98 years. Every death associated with COVID-19 is a tragedy.
We must cut our social contacts in order to break the chains of transmission and protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease. Stay at home and save lives.”
Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:
"We have the power to change the trajectory of the disease in our communities. We must hold firm and continue to stay home.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse. The penetration of the virus throughout all ages of the population is a particular cause for serious concern, as is risk of severe disease that all of these people face.
"Poor health outcomes, risk of serious or long-term illness and hospitalisation remain a risk for us all when it comes to COVID-19. That is why we must follow public health advice and protect not only ourselves but our hospital system and healthcare workers by staying at home.” Dr Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory said: “It is not unusual for viruses to mutate over time. We have identified multiple different SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Ireland since the start of the pandemic, and 2 of the 3 recently emerged variants of concern from the UK and South Africa.
"We also expect that more variants will emerge across the world in the coming months. While some of the new variants will increase the risk of becoming infected because they have increased transmissibility – they can stick longer and better to surfaces – this does not mean that our continued adherence to the public health advice is in anyway less effective. We must continue to wash our hands, wear a face covering where appropriate, maintain our social distance and continue to adhere to the public health advice.”
Mr Liam Woods, Director of Acute Hospitals, HSE said: “Our hospitals and our frontline healthcare workers are working under the enormous strain COVID-19 is exerting on our health service. 1,789 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, 169 of those in intensive care. The best way we can protect our health service and support our frontline workers is to stay home and continue to adhere to the public health advice.”