THE DEPARTMENT of Health announced yesterday that within the latest 24-hour period there have been 3,726 new cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, up from 2,855 the previous day.
Despite this significant rise, the number of people in hospital with the virus has dropped by 22 to 493, of which 90 are in intensive care – down one on the previous 24-hour period.
Health experts had warned of a significant increase, though it is unclear whether these latest figures account for a potential backlog in cases which had gone previously unrecorded.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has stressed, however, that the spread of the virus is not yet cause for alarm as Ireland has the means to contain it within reasonable limits.
“We know that vaccination is very successful at preventing severe illness and hospitalisation and I urge anyone who still needs to get their Covid vaccine to do so,” he said.
“We also know that, even when vaccinated, we still need to practice basic public health interventions – washing our hands, opening windows, wearing masks and most importantly, staying home when we have symptoms.
“These simple measures are very successful at breaking the chains of transmission of this disease.
“As we practice all elements of the public health advice, we keep ourselves, and our communities safe.”
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly struck a graver note as he told the Dáil yesterday that hospitals were filling up and had described the situation in Ireland now as ‘serious’.
“We have to be concerned that things will deteriorate further,” he said, and touted the possible extension of emergency legislation which required the wearing of face masks, supplying COVID-19 passes, and giving the police more enforcement powers to deal with breaches.