Households have become a hotbed for Covid-19 in the midst of the lockdown, with outbreaks in homes more than doubling in the space of a week.
There were 954 outbreaks of the virus last week – up from 443 in the previous seven days.
The increasingly worrying picture has emerged as another 12 people died of Covid-19, bringing to
more than 2,000 the number of people here who have succumbed to the virus since the start of the pandemic.
The daily toll of cases remained high, at 376, confirming fears the lockdown is no longer driving down the spread of infection as hoped for.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “Today we sadly report over 2,000 deaths associated with Covid-19 to date in this country. This pandemic has impacted, directly and indirectly, on families and communities all across Ireland.
“It is important that we continue to work together if we are to suppress this virus and protect as many people as possible. For the next two weeks, work from home, stay at home and follow public health advice.”
As of 2pm yesterday 282 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, with 33 seriously ill in intensive care.
The 14-day incidence of the virus remained stable at 121.3 per 100,000. Donegal, Limerick, Roscommon and Waterford are the counties with the highest 14-day incidence.
Among the new cases yesterday 116 were in Dublin, 38 in Donegal, 30 in Meath, 27 in Cork, 22 in Limerick, and 22 in Louth, while the remaining 124 cases were spread across all other counties.
It comes as new evidence shows that people are at higher risk of picking up Covid-19 if they are indoors for a long time with a large number of others shouting and singing, combined with poor ventilation and little use of face masks.
The setting, which could mirror a traditional Christmas get-together, is revealed in a new report by Ireland’s health watchdog which looks at where people are more at risk of transmission of the virus.
“The international evidence highlights that the main factors that contribute to spread of Covid-19 are indoor settings, crowds, and prolonged contact with others.
“Much can be done to mitigate risk in these settings, such as ensuring good ventilation and people following public health advice to use face coverings, keep physical distance and wash their hands frequently,” said Dr Mairin Ryan of the Health Information and Quality Authority, which carried out the research.
Most clusters happen in household settings.
“Our findings reinforce the importance of adherence to self-isolation guidance despite the challenges it can pose, for those with Covid-19, those awaiting test results and those with symptoms suggestive of Covid-19,” said Dr Ryan.
The report found there is “consistent evidence” that clusters of the virus most commonly occur in household settings, and that there is a higher rate of onward transmission in households compared with other settings.
Other areas where large numbers of clusters have been consistently seen include nursing homes, hospitals, meat and food processing plants, large shared accommodation, sporting activities, bars, nightclubs and restaurants, gyms, offices, shopping centres, cruise ships, weddings, shopping malls, prisons, mines and religious settings.
Source: Irish News