90,609 referrals for Covid-19 community testing in a week reveals CSO official report

CSO Report covers deaths, incidence and other details from June to September

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

New testing criteria implemented

Coronavirus Covid-19

The Central Statistics Office has published the twelfth publication in its new series of information bulletins to provide insights into those who have either died from or contracted COVID-19.

This Bulletin covers the period from 28 February to 18 September 2020.

Key Findings:

  • Dublin made up 56% of all new cases, a total of 840 cases, for the week ended 18 September which is the second week in a row that Dublin had more than 800 weekly cases
  • The number of people who have died from COVID-19 is less than 20 for each of the last 14 weeks
  • The number of weekly confirmed COVID-19 cases is more than 1,500 cases in each of the last two weeks up to the week ending 18 September
  • There were 1,503 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the week ending 18 September, a decrease of 73 cases from the previous week
  • The median age of new confirmed COVID-19 cases was 33 years old for the week ending 18 September
  • This is the second week in a row that Clare and Donegal have recorded more than 20 new cases, the third such week for Galway, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Waterford and Wicklow, the fourth such week for Cork, seventh for Limerick and the eighth such week for Kildare
  • More than half (55%) of confirmed cases are now linked to an outbreak
  • In terms of outbreaks, 51% of cases associated with outbreaks are male, 87% of cases are under 44 years old and 54% were located in private houses
  • In the last seven weeks, 12% of cases have been in the 0 – 14 age group and 22% in the 15 – 24 age group
  • Women and those aged between 25-44 continue to account for the highest number of confirmed cases
  • Those living in Electoral Divisions where the median household income is between €40,000 and €50,000 accounted for 31% of cases in the last two months compared to 26% of all cases since the start of the pandemic
  • People living in areas where more than 25% of the population live in rental accommodation were worst affected by the pandemic accounting for 56% of all cases

Referrals and Testing

An analysis of referrals for community testing data from the HSE’s Swift Queue system shows that there were 90,609 referrals for community testing in the week ending 20 September. Referrals for testing have increased every week since mid-August.

There have been increases in all age groups over this period but in particular among the 0 – 14 age group, which has risen from 883 at the end of July to a high of 22,273 in the week ending 13 September. Less than 20% of referrals in July were from GP’s (see Table A2) while referrals from GPs make up more than 60% of the total in September.

Testing numbers cannot be directly compared with referrals for community testing; there is a significant number of tests completed in hospitals as well as a time lag between referral and test completion. There are also a number of referrals that do not result in a test being completed. However weekly testing numbers from HSE labs and hospitals also show a large increase in tests over the last seven weeks, with 81,463 tests in week ending 18 September - the highest since testing began. As testing has increased, the positivity rate has also risen from a low of 0.2% positive in week ending 24 July to 2.3% positive in week ending 18 August. This is a large decrease on the positivity rate of 23.2% positive in week ending 03 April.

Deaths

The data produced by the CSO in Table 2 is based on the Actual Date of Death. Using this method, the CSO has found that while the number of people who have died from COVID-19 has remained below 20 for the last 14 weeks, Dublin continues to be the worst hit.

The total number of people who have died from COVID-19 is 1,546, with a further 246 deaths cited as probable deaths linked to the virus. For the week ending 18 September, eight deaths were recorded.

The virus claimed the lives of 36 more men than women up to and including the week ending 18 September. It also continues to impact the older age groups the hardest, with 64% of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths to date in the 80 years old or older age group.

Confirmed Cases

The number of weekly confirmed COVID-19 cases is more than 1,500 cases in each of the last two weeks up to and including 18 September. The total number of confirmed cases is 33,084. The number of cases for the week ending 18 September is 1,504, a decrease of 73 from the previous week.

More than half (55%) of all confirmed cases are now linked to an outbreak. The median age of total confirmed COVID-19 cases is now 45.

Some 3,564 more females were diagnosed with COVID-19 than males.

The 25-44 age group still show the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 11,487.

In the seven weeks since the beginning of August, 12% of cases have been in the 0 – 14 age group and 22% in the 15 – 24 age group. The over 65 age group account for 8% of cases in the last seven weeks down from 26% of all cases up to the end of July.

The median age of new confirmed COVID-19 cases was 33 years old for the week ending 18 September.

In the last two months, 8% of all cases have been health care workers, down from 33% at end of July.

Dublin accounted for 56% (840) of all new cases for the week ended 18 September and it was the second week in a row that Dublin had more than 800 weekly cases since the beginning of May. Cork is the county with second highest number of new cases at 100 cases, for the week ended 18 September. There were no cases reported in Longford during this latest week.

This is the second week in a row that Clare and Donegal have recorded more than 20 new cases, the third such week for Galway, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Waterford and Wicklow, the fourth such week for Cork, seventh for Limerick and the eighth such week for Kildare.

Hospitalisations

Last week, 82 people were hospitalised, the fifth week in a row that the number of people that were hospitalised has increased. For the second week in a row there have been more than five people admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). (Note: These figures may need to be adjusted if someone’s condition worsens as there is a time lag between onset of symptoms and hospitalisation.)

Outbreaks

There have been 18,096 positive COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak, which is defined as two or more cases in the same location and time. Women account for 54% of all cases linked to an outbreak.

The median age of confirmed cases related to an outbreak is 47.

For the week ended 18 September, 51% of cases associated with outbreaks are male, 87% of cases are under 44 years old and 54% were located in private houses.

Dublin made up 38% of all cases linked to an outbreak for the week ended 18 September.

Outbreaks in private houses account for 55% of cases linked to an outbreak in the last seven weeks, while the workplace accounts for 17% of cases linked to an outbreak over this period.

Nursing homes accounted for 4% of all confirmed cases related to an outbreak in the last seven weeks. This has decreased from 44% of cases at the end of July.

Underlying Conditions

There have been 1,474 deaths of people with underlying conditions from 12,104 confirmed cases with underlying conditions. The median age of those dying with underlying conditions is 83.

There were 1,366 deaths of people with underlying conditions in the over 65 age group. Of the 116 deaths in the 25-64 age group, 106 had underlying conditions.

In terms of underlying conditions, chronic heart disease was present in 45% of deaths.

Contacts

The average number of contacts per positive case per week is six in the week ending 11 September up from five two weeks ago. The number of contacts in the 0-14 age group has increased to more than 10 contacts per case in September from just over four in late August.

Electoral Division Analysis

The Electoral Division (ED) analysis in Tables 4 and 4A show that people living in areas where a large proportion (>25%) of the population live in rental accommodation were worst affected by the pandemic accounting for 56% of all cases. For cases confirmed in August and September, this has increased to 59%. Just 20% of cases have been associated with areas with a lower proportion of the population renting despite 27% of the population living in these Electoral Divisions.

The analysis also shows a movement in the income levels of households affected. The CSO has also found those living in EDs where the median household income is €30,000 or less accounted for 4% of all cases since the pandemic began, but in the last two months this group has accounted for 7% of cases. Cases among those living in EDs where the median household income is between €40,000 and €50,000 have increased over this period accounting for 31% of cases in the last two months compared to 26% of all cases since the start of the pandemic.

The data also shows that there has been an increase in the proportions of cases in areas of higher working age welfare dependency in the last two months, having accounted for 19% of cases at the end of July, these areas have accounted for 27% of cases in the last seven weeks.

For Covid-19 statistics from the CSO here