Dr Tony Holohan stresses that incidence of Covid cases is 'declining' despite grim figures

By Trevor Quinn

A further 1,545 Covid-19 daily infections and 43 new deaths were reported by the Department of Health yesterday.

But Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan stressed that despite the grim figures the incidence of coronavirus cases is “declining”.

The 43 fatalities were reported to the department between September 1 and yesterday afternoon.

A total of 335 Covid patients were being treated in hospitals here yesterday with 56 people in ICU.

Dr Holohan said there is reason for optimism as both death rates and hospital admissions are stabilising.

He added: “Overall the incidence of Covid-19 infection is declining across the country, the five-day moving average is 1,407 and we see a stabilisation of ICU and hospital admissions.

“Incidence of Covid-19 in adolescents and young adults is falling significantly and we are seeing early encouraging signs that the rate of infection is plateauing in children of school-going age.”

However, a principals’ leader said yesterday a move to let unvaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts of positive cases back into classrooms would be a “cause for concern”.

Around 14,000 schoolchildren who have been deemed close contacts are currently out of the classroom as they have to isolate for 10 days.

However, health officials are believed to be considering a change to that rule.

Brian O’Doherty, president of the Irish Primary Principals Network, told RTE: “I think it will be a cause for concern in the context of the increasing numbers that are presenting in schools and the challenges that are being presented for school leaders in terms of managing that when cases are notified to the school.”

Meanwhile, Monaghan GP Ilona Duffy has said more kids are testing positive as schools open up.

The medical director for the North East Doctor On Call service spoke about how children under the age of 12 are being impacted.

She added: “For the last couple of weeks we have been seeing a rise in the number of children who are testing positive and the number of children who are symptomatic so parents are contacting us or prior to this self-referring for Covid testing.

“So this is a big change. Because I suppose last year and the early stages of Covid we saw very few children testing positive for Covid.

“Now it’s very different. Obviously it’s because they are unvaccinated.

“And while yes, the initial cases will have come from the community, now that children are gathered in groups and the younger children especially who aren’t wearing masks and are gathered in larger numbers in the classrooms, we’re going to see that spread and I think we’ve already started to see that.”

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