Omicron is the next big wave
Covid-19 has increased sharply in the past seven days among people aged 16 to 34 according to Dr Tony Holohan who says exceptional Christmas sacrifices have to made.
But he Chief Medical Officer is concerned that people are ignoring the central way to control the spread - many are not isolating.
The Chief Medical Officer was speaking on a day when the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 4,799 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It was also reported that as of 8am Monday, 467 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 104 are in ICU.
Dr Tony Holohan, who is also head of NPHET, warned of the spread among teenagers and young adults.
“The level of disease and positivity rate amongst young adults has increased sharply in the last week. One in four people in the 16 – 34-year-old age group that are going for a PCR test have received a “detected” result. This is one of the highest rates since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This high level of disease in young people represents a high risk to those they come into contact with who have yet to be vaccinated or receive their booster. Therefore, if you have not yet received your booster you are best to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household," he said.
Dr Holohan said hard decisions have to be made by the public.
“Christmas week is an important time for many of us. However, it is also a time that presents unique opportunities for COVID to spread because of the possible extent of inter-household and inter-generational mixing. Each of us can take actions this week to protect ourselves and our loved ones, even if this means rethinking plans for the Christmas period, especially if you are not yet boosted or vaccinated.
“As difficult as it may seem, limiting as much as possible your Christmas to small numbers and very close family will protect them. This is an exceptional sacrifice to ask after the very difficult year all of us have had, so please remember that it may be the decision that protects yourself or a loved one from the severe impacts of COVID-19," he said.
He added that half of people are not isolating with symptoms.
“It's also a concern that our latest Amarach tracking data shows that only half of people with symptoms are isolating. This is the single most important piece of basic public health advice - it is vital that you isolate as soon as you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and arrange a PCR test. Do not meet up with others and put them at risk of COVID-19 or another respiratory infection. Do not rely on a negative antigen test as a basis for not isolating,” he said.
A total of 1.5 million boosters have been administered in Ireland by December 19.
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