Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team – 8th January

January 8, 2021 0

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 20 additional deaths related to COVID-19. There has been a total of 2,327 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland. As of midnight Thursday 7 January, the HPSC has been notified of 8,248 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There has now been a total of 135,884* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

(*Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification of 21 confirmed cases. The figure of 135,884 confirmed cases reflects this.)

Of the cases notified today:

  • 3,834 are men and 4,375 are women
  • 61% are under 45 years of age
  • the median age is 38 years old
  • 3,013 in Dublin, 1,374 in Cork, 538 in Limerick, 314 in Kildare, 310 in Donegal and the remaining 2,699 cases are spread across all other counties

As of 2pm today, 1,180 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 109 are in ICU. There have been 116 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

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

Three cases of a new variant of COVID-19 recently identified in South Africa have been confirmed in Ireland today by whole genome sequencing. All of the cases identified are directly associated with recent travel from South Africa.

Anyone who has travelled from South Africa recently is advised to self-isolate for 14 days and identify themselves through a GP for testing as soon as possible.

We are particularly advising healthcare workers travelling from South Africa, that it is essential that they self-isolate for 14 days before entering/re-entering the workplace.

While this variant has not yet been identified in many European countries we believe the identification here reflects the extent of genome sequencing surveillance in Ireland.

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

The ECDC Assessment states that preliminary analyses indicate that the South African variant is associated with a heightened viral load and may have increased transmissibility. It also states that there is no evidence to date that this variant is associated with higher severity of infection.

There is currently not enough information available to determine whether this variant poses a possible risk related to vaccine match and effectiveness. The antigenic characterisation of this new variant is ongoing, and results are expected in the coming weeks.

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.

If YOU or SOMEONE YOU KNOW are struggling and need help check out the local help/support available on our dedicated COVID-19 page.

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