Covid-19 deaths in Ireland have dropped again while there has been a noticeable fall in the daily number of new confirmed cases.
The National Health Protection Surveillance Centre has notified the Department of Health of 29 new deaths bringing to 1,403 the number of people who have died in Ireland after contracting the virus.
A further 137 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed bringing to 22,385 the total number of confirmed cases since February 29.
It is the lowest rate in some time. The number of new cases per day is now declining by close to 10% per day. The estimated reproduction rate of the virus is between 0.5 and 0.6 which is below the magic number of 1. The spread rate was five at the peak.
There are 76 patients in ICU no new cases on Wednesday. At the height of the disease, there were 140 in ICU with Covid-19. Fewer than two people are being admitted to ICU each day for treatment.
In the past week, there have been 20 or fewer admissions to hospital per day.
A total of 6,473 healthcare workers have tested positive. Most are women. Five healthcare workers have died.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “The reproduction number is between 0.5 -0.6. We have achieved our goal of suppressing the spread of the disease, it was not easy for anyone but there is no question that our collective effort has saved lives.
“Now we look to the pattern of COVID-19 going forward, as we attempt to ease restrictions. These weeks are just as important as the first weeks of our response. Our behaviours are crucial in maintaining our progress and keeping the reproduction number below 1.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “The number of ICU admissions, new cases and deaths is now falling and has been for over a week. This is driven by a reduction of transmission of the virus in the community and reinforces the importance of our behaviours going forward.”
He said the number of the new case would take off again very quickly if we returned to the spread rate pre St Patrick's Day.
"We need to find ways to keep the spread of the virus at very low levels for many weeks to come," he said.
Today’s data from the HPSC, as of midnight, Tuesday 5 May (22,186 cases), reveals:
· 57% are female and 43% are male
· the median age of confirmed cases is 49 years
· 2,891 cases (13%) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 376 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 6,498 cases are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 10,840 (49% of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,302 cases (6%) and then Cork with 1,197 cases (5%)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 62%, close contact accounts for 35%, travel abroad accounts for 3%.