Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health in Ireland
High Covid-19 incidence in the places where the virus has killed many people is a concern for Dr Tony Holohan who, along with other members of the National Public Health Emergency Team, have flagged that Ireland's battle with the third and worst wave of the pandemic is far from over.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, was speaking on the day when 47 more people died in Ireland after catching the virus. The number of new cases also increased for the second day in a row.
“Incidence is falling but remains high. It is positive to see numbers of people hospitalised reducing and a stabilisation of numbers in ICU.
“However, we are continuing to experience high mortality with 878 deaths so far in January. I am concerned about the high incidence we are seeing in long-term care settings and vulnerable groups. Our efforts to stay home and break the transmission of the disease will save lives. Please continue to follow the public health advice and support each other to keep going,” he said
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said transmision has been suppressed but more effort is needed.
“Incidence is falling and by working collectively to reduce contacts, we have achieved suppression of transmission with the R number estimated at 0.4-0.7. We are maintaining an extraordinary effort but still we have a long way to go. We must maintain full suppression for several weeks if we are to achieve strategic options for the future. If we keep this up, we would be down to 200-400 cases per day by the end of February,” he said.
Dr Lorraine Doherty, National Clinical Director Health Protection HSE - Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), outlined how big outbreaks can be sparked very easily.
“It only takes one event to spark a chain of transmission of Covid-19 that can spread through a community. We have seen examples of outbreaks in a workplace that has led to multiple outbreaks in families and other work settings, and these ultimately lead to a higher incidence in the community and threatens the most vulnerable to Covid-19. Every action an individual takes matters,” she said.