MORE than 500 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, as the case numbers of the disease rose once again today.
Figures announced this afternoon from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that there are 1,631 confirmed cases of coronavirus across Ireland.
As of eight o'clock this morning, some 503 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, with almost one-fifth of these, 101, in intensive care.
Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, there has been a total of 5,436 deaths related to Covid-19 across the State.
This includes 67 deaths newly notified in the past week (since last Wednesday).
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "Incidence of Covid-19 is increasing at a concerning rate. The seven-day moving average is now 2,043, up from 1,138 only three weeks ago. Incidence is increasing across all age groups, highest in those aged 5-12 years."
"A combination of higher levels of social contact, a move to socialisation indoors and a collective relaxing of basic public health behaviours combined has led to this surge of infection," he said.
Dr Holohan urged people to follow basic public health advice, and expect the presence of infection prevention control measures in all settings visited.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn added: "There is no one intervention that will protect you and those around you from contracting Covid-19. We need a muti-layered approach to this disease, using all the tools we have at our disposal; vaccination, wearing a face mask, well ventilated spaces indoors, hand hygiene and cough etiquette, social distancing when appropriate and isolating at the onset of symptoms. These measures combined are the most effective way you can protect yourself and loved ones from Covid-19.”
Professor Breda Smyth, director of Public Health, HSE West said: "Incidence is growing across the population. High community incidence threatens all settings. A particular concern is for environments with vulnerable people, such as nursing homes, hospital and care environments and long term residential facilities. High community transmission poses a substantial risk to this population. A combined effort to reduce incidence is needed to protect the most vulnerable."
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