Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team – 21st December

December 21, 2020 0

There have been no new deaths reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre today. There has been a total of 2,158 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland. As of midnight Sunday 20 December, the HPSC has been notified of 727 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There has now been a total of 80,267* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

(*Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification of 2 confirmed cases. The figure of 80,267 confirmed cases reflects this.)

Of the cases notified today:

359 are men and 366 are women
62% are under 45 years of age
the median age is 36 years old
311 in Dublin, 51 in Kilkenny, 48 in Wexford, 44 in Donegal, 44 in Cork and the remaining 229 cases are spread across 19 other counties

As of 2pm today, 241 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 29 are in ICU. There have been 18 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said:

Our current disease trends are gravely concerning. 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 17 December to 616 on 21 December, an 82% increase. It is now as important as it was back in March to limit your contacts and protect your loved ones.

Dr Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive, Health Products Regulatory Authority, said:

Today we welcome a highly significant announcement from the European Medicines Agency in their recommendation to approve a first vaccine for COVID-19 in Europe. It is a key development in our continued efforts to tackling this pandemic. This will become one additional defence in our suite of public health actions to protect us from COVID-19.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said:

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.

Dr. Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said:

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.

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