Big jump in Covid-19 cases across Louth today

Lord Mayor finishes isolation period after Covid diagnosis and warns of 'difficult days ahead'

Big jump in Covid-19 cases across Louth today

There have been eight further deaths related to COVID-19 reported by the Department of Health today, along with 6,888 new confirmed cases.

Of today's cases, 59% are under the age of 45, while 2,641 are women and 2,250 are men.

2,088 in Dublin, 862 in Cork, 469 in Limerick, 405 in Wexford, 320 in Waterford and the remaining 2,744 cases are spread across all other counties.

The hospitals are operating at 94% bed occupancy, with 736 Covid inpatients, 701 Covid-occupied beds, 52 Covid patients in ICU and 37 on ventilators.

Meanwhile, 1,112 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.

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The 14-day incidence rate has risen again locally - from 1660.9 yesterday to 1878.4 today.

The situation was the most extreme in the Southern Trust area, where Covid-19 infection rates are now highest in Northern Ireland. There is now a total of 152,539* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

The incoming weeks will be the most challenging in many medical workers' careers, the director of nursing at the South Eastern Health Trust, Dr David Robinson has said.

Dr Margaret Harris said the recent surge in cases can be attributed to "winter gatherings", with many people not heeding public health advice.

It comes after a stark warning was issued by the region's public health officials that the number of hospital patients could double by next week.

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"The best way forward now is for all of us to stay at home", he added.

Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan said that: "The alarming level of disease is unprecedented in terms of our experience of the levels of COVID-19 in the community". We are seeing numbers of cases per day, and numbers in hospital, that we just could not have comprehended prior to Christmas.

"We also highlighted that there was a very real risk that hospitals could be overwhelmed in the event of a further Covid-19 spike in January". This is still significantly below the overall national rate of 1291.2. "This is vital in order to make significant headway over the next 7 days and to reduce the pressure on our health services and healthcare colleagues".

Taking to social media the borough's Lord Mayor, Councillor Kevin Savage said: "The situation in ABC is dire, Covid is rife, I'm only out of isolation due to positive test". Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for vigilance in our individual response to the disease, which is spread through close proximity to others.

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