TWO MORE people have died as a result of contracting Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health has confirmed.
The patients are a woman in the east of the country with an underlying health condition, and a man who was also being treated in the east of the country.
Their sad passing brings the total of Covid-related deaths in the Republic to 9.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre have also informed the Department of Health of a confirmed of 235 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland as of 1pm, Wednesday 25 March.
These new figures brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic to 1,564.
In the north, there have been 209 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 7 deaths.
The HSE is working rapidly to identify any close contacts the newly confirmed cases in the Republic may have had, in order to advise them and stop the further spread of the virus.
Yesterday, changes in the way Ireland are testing citizens for Covid-19 came into effect: those wanting to be tested must now have at least two major symptoms, ie a fever and a persistent cough, and priority testing for healthcare workers and the immunocompromised has also been introduced.
Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, said of the new measures:
"Our data showed yesterday that only 6% of our tests so far returned positive; so for every 100 people we test we are only finding 6 people with COVID-19. In light of this, our case definition changed.
“Changing case definition is a standard practice in managing pandemics. Ultimately, we want our 6% detected rate to increase, we want to find as many people as possible with COVID-19, isolate them and contain the spread.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:
"We are seeking to prioritise those who are to be tested with a focus in the short-term on those who are vulnerable and those who are at the highest risk to exposure.”
Dr. Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said:
"There has been ongoing engagement with GPs over the past 24 hours. GPs are best placed to advise individuals with symptoms whether they need a test or not. Ultimately, the test has no impact on the clinical course of this disease and the priority for anyone with symptoms is to isolate themselves.”