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HSE pinpoints priority groups for testing as Covid-19 claims seventh victim

Another 204 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) also announced that another patient has died.

The patient is a male and in the east of the country with an underlying health condition.

The total number of coronavirus deaths in the country is now seven while the total number of cases is now 1,329.

To date, 17,992 tests have been carried out in laboratories across the country, as of midnight last night.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: “Priority groups for testing include close contacts of a confirmed case with symptoms, healthcare workers with symptoms and people who are vulnerable with symptoms.

“Whether you are tested or not, the advice remains the same; if you have any symptoms, assume you have Covid-19 and isolate yourself for 14 days to help stop the spread of this disease. Household contacts of a suspected case should restrict their contacts for 14 days.”

The National Public Health Emergency Team today recommended that Government adopt the World Health Organisation case definition for Covid-19.

A patient with fever and at least one sign of respiratory disease e.g. cough, shortness of breath.

They also issued a comprehensive list of new measures, while the Department of Health launched a new Covid-19 Information Dashboard, providing up-to-date case information.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: “We are now in the crucial weeks of our response to Covid-19. All actions we take are based on epidemiological evidence and in proportion to our experience on this island.

“As we learn more about this disease, we are prioritising who will be tested. If you are not in a priority group, you might not be tested. However, if you have the symptoms, assume you have Covid-19 and isolate yourself.”

Analysis by the NPHET of public health contact tracing has shown that the average number of close contacts per confirmed case has decreased from more than 20 to the region of five contacts.

They said it shows that people are following health advice and actively limiting the amount of people they engage with.

    Today’s data from Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Sunday 22nd March (965 cases), reveals:

  • 55% are male and 45% are female, with 44 clusters involving 243 cases
  • the median age of confirmed cases is 45 years
  • 277 cases (29%) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 36 cases have been admitted to intensive care
  • 247 cases (26%) are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 535, (55% of all cases) followed by Cork with 123 cases (13%)
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 47%, close contact accounts for 23%, travel abroad accounts for 31%

[ul][b]Useful information[/b] [li]The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here [/li] [li]Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;[/li] [li]GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.[/li] [li]ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024[/li] [/ul]