Two more people have died due to the coronavirus in Ireland with the total number of people who have tested positive now hitting 1,564.
The rise for Wednesday, March 25 marks the biggest daily increase in confirmed cases since the first case was recorded in Ireland in late February.
A man and woman have died on the east of the country. The woman had an underlying condition but there has been no notification about any pre-existing condition.
A total of 235 cases were reported on Wednesday. A total of nine people have died.
Data on the ages of people who have died will be published next week.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said: “Our data showed yesterday that only 6% of our tests so far returned positive; so for every 100 people we test we are only finding 6 people with COVID-19. In light of this, our case definition changed.
“Changing case definition is a standard practice in managing pandemics. Ultimately, we want our 6% detected rate to increase, we want to find as many people as possible with COVID-19, isolate them and contain the spread.”
He told a press conference that nearly 24,000 people have been tested but he said there are more cases out there. He said tighter definitions of the disease have been given to GPs to catch every case they can.
He said there is no sign of complacency among the public and he said people are worried. He said nearly 20,000 people have sought testing but it is not necessary to have a test result. He said what was important is self-isolation for 14 days.
"The key measure for you is to stay home and self-isolate," he said.
He said it is planned to test 15,000 per day in the second half of April. However, he said the large number of people who came forward for tests to date has not been manageable.
When asked about home testing, he said new testing arrangments and methodologies are being examined.
Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said; “We are seeking to prioritise those who are to be tested with a focus in the short-term on those who are vulnerable and those who are at the highest risk to exposure.”
Dr. Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said; “There has been ongoing engagement with GPs over the past 24 hours. GPs are best placed to advise individuals with symptoms whether they need a test or not. Ultimately, the test has no impact on the clinical course of this disease and the priority for anyone with symptoms is to isolate themselves.”
Information is available on HSE.ie or by calling the HSE helpline 1850 24 1850
Detailed figures of Wednesday's update appear on the new coronavirus dashboard.
Today’s data from HPSC, as of midnight, Monday 23nd March (1,164 cases), reveals:
· 55% are male and 45% are female, with 63 clusters involving 289 cases
· The median age of confirmed cases is 45 years
· 305 cases (26%) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 39 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 283 cases (24%) are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 559, (57% of all cases) followed by Cork with 133 cases (11%)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 49%, close contact accounts for 23%, travel abroad accounts for 28%