A FURTHER 36 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Limerick, bringing the total number to 343 here.
It comes as figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that there are 44 more deaths from the condition in Ireland, and 709 more confirmed cases.
Some 33 of these deaths are reported in the east with three in the north-west, three in the south and five in the west of the country.
Twenty-five males and 19 females have tragically died, with 25 of these reported as having underlying health conditions.
Today's deaths bring the number of mortalities to 530 across the Republic of Ireland.
The HPSC reported 597 confirmed Covid-19 cases reported by Irish laboratories with an additional 112 from a laboratory in Germany.
The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met earlier today to continue its ongoing review of Ireland’s response to the pandemic.
In the meeting, it was decided to expand testing capacity to 100,000 tests per week operating on a seven-day week basis for a minimum of six months.
Over the course of the next seven to 10 days, testing of staff and residents in all long-term residential care facilities will be prioritised.
Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer at the Department of Health, said; "At today’s meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team, we endorsed a proposal to increase testing of staff and residents across all long-term residential care settings including nursing homes. The behaviour of the virus among vulnerable groups who live in these care settings continues to be a concern and this remains a priority for NPHET."
"While we are suppressing the disease among the general public, we cannot afford to become complacent. To remain safe from Covid-19 we need to continue to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly, cough into our elbows and practice social distancing. These simple measures can slow down the spread of this virus and save lives," he added.
Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer at the HSE added: "Each COVID-19 death reported is a tragedy. This is an incurable illness and while 80% of the population will experience a mild form of the disease, our older and more vulnerable people are at a much greater risk due to the behaviour of this disease within this group."
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