Increase in close contact likely to lead to fourth wave of infection

There have been 16 people admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours as a result of contracting the disease

IT has been another relatively encouraging day in Kerry in the fight against Covid-19 with less than five new positive cases reported in the county which still has the lowest 14-day infection rate per head of population in the country..

Nationally, however, six further deaths have occurred and 411 new infections have been confirmed.

All of deaths notified today took place this month. The median age of those who died was 79 years and the age range was from 49 to 87 years.

There have now been 4,687 fatalities due to coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland with a total of 235,854 known cases confirmed to date.

Early this morning, there were 297 patients being treated for Covid-19 complications in hospital with 67 in intensive care. There have been 16 people admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours as a result of contracting the disease.

Of the cases notified today, 209 are female and 202 are male with 70 per cent under the age of 45. The median age of those affected is 35.

Of the newly diagnosed cases, 150 are in Dublin, 31 in Donegal, 25 in Kildare, 25 in Wexford and 21 in Offaly with the remaining 159 cases spread across 17 other counties.

Four counties – Kilkenny, Leitrim, Sligo and Wicklow – had no new cases reported today.

Department of Health Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, has warned that there is a critical window over the next eight weeks where any significant increase in close contact is likely to lead to a significant fourth wave of infection in the range of that experienced in January.

“We can and should be optimistic for an enjoyable summer ahead but, in the meantime, we have to continue to work together to prevent a further wave of infection as we accelerate vaccination across society and maintain our health services,” he added.