There have now been 16 positive cases of Covid-19 detected in county Louth, according to new figures from the Department of Health and the National Public Health Emergency Team. There have now been 1,329 confirmed cases in Ireland – with 204 new cases on Tuesday.
A seventh person has died having contracted the virus. The deceased was a male in the east of the country who had underlying health issues. There have now been 535 confirmed cases in Dublin and 123 in Cork. There have been 35 cases in Galway and 19 and 13 in Limerick and Waterford respectively.
Outside of the cities, Wicklow has the most cases with 28. The 204 new cases announced this evening followed 219 on Monday, which was the worst day in terms of number of positive cases detected. In neighbouring Meath, there has also been 16 positive cases found.
Officials from the Department of Health confirmed this evening that while they recommend that anyone showing symptoms self isolate, priority is being given to at-risk groups and not everyone will be tested.
A Covid-19 testing centre is currently being built at DkiT in Dundalk in anticipation of a spike in testing requirements in the coming days. As of midnight last night, 17,992 tests have been carried out in laboratories and medical facilities across the country. The first confirmed case was found in Ireland on March 2 – and in a little over three weeks, that figure has now risen to 1,329.
277 cases have seen persons hospitalised. Of that number, 36 have been admitted to Intensive Care Units. Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 47% of cases with close contact accounting for 23% and travel abroad accounting for 31%.
“We are now in the crucial weeks of our response to COVID-19. All actions we take are based on epidemiological evidence and in proportion to our experience on this island,” the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said.
“As we learn more about this disease, we are prioritising who will be tested. If you are not in a priority group, you might not be tested. However, if you have the symptoms, assume you have COVID-19 and isolate yourself.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, added: “Priority groups for testing include close contacts of a confirmed case with symptoms, healthcare workers with symptoms and people who are vulnerable with symptoms.
“Whether you are tested or not, the advice remains the same; if you have any symptoms, assume you have COVID-19 and isolate yourself for 14 days to help stop the spread of this disease. Household contacts of a suspected case should restrict their contacts for 14 days.”
Earlier today, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that closures of schools, colleges and childcare facilities are to be extended until April 19th and as a number of new measures are to be implemented from midnight tonight as the country battles against the outbreak of Covid-19.
All theatres, clubs, gyms hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to close. Across county Louth and nationwide, many of the above had already closed their doors.
All hotels are to limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons; all non-essential retail outlets are to close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement social distancing; all cafes and restaurants are to limit supply to take-away food or delivery and implement social distancing measures in respect of queuing.
All playgrounds are also being closed. Additionally, Gardai have been given new powers to detain anyone who is not adhering to physical distancing protocols in public. Varadkar, who said the new measures did not amount to a lockdown, said he hoped the “powers would be used sparingly, if at all.”