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Coronavirus: 28 further deaths and 3,955 new cases – 60 of them in Laois – as special schools set to reopen

There have been a further 28 Coronavirus-related deaths and 3,955 new cases, according to figures released by the health authorities today.

26 of these deaths occurred in January 2021. The date of death for 2 of these reported death remains under investigation.

Of the 132 people who died between January 6-12, 92% were aged over 65. But the age range was 25 to 98 years.

60 of the new cases are in Laois, meaning the county’s 14-day incidence rate goes to 952.8, up from 941 yesterday. The national 14-day rate now stands at 1,497.

There are now 807 confirmed active cases in the county, again a record high.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 1,826 are men / 2,115 are women
  • 54% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 42 years old
  • 1,210 are in Dublin, 456 in Cork, 235 in Louth, 221 in Meath, 218 in Limerick, and the remaining 1,615 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of 2pm today, 1,789 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 169 are in ICU. 154 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “Today we are giving some more information on the 208 people who have been reported to have sadly died from COVID-19 so far this month.

“Of these, 23 cases have been linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 38 with outbreaks in Nursing Homes. The ages of those who have died range from 25 to 98 years.

“Every death associated with COVID-19 is a tragedy. We must cut our social contacts in order to break the chains of transmission and protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease. Stay at home and save lives.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “COVID-19 is having a very significant impact on our health system.

“The best way we can protect ourselves and each other is by staying home and only leaving home for essential journeys. We have the power to change the trajectory of the disease in our communities. We must hold firm and continue to stay home.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse.

“The penetration of the virus throughout all ages of the population is a particular cause for serious concern, as is risk of severe disease that all of these people face.

“Poor health outcomes, risk of serious or long-term illness and hospitalisation remain a risk for us all when it comes to COVID-19. That is why we must follow public health advice and protect not only ourselves but our hospital system and healthcare workers by staying at home.”

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory said: “It is not unusual for viruses to mutate over time.

“We have identified multiple different SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Ireland since the start of the pandemic, and 2 of the 3 recently emerged variants of concern from the UK and South Africa.

“We also expect that more variants will emerge across the world in the coming months.

“While some of the new variants will increase the risk of becoming infected because they have increased transmissibility – they can stick longer and better to surfaces – this does not mean that our continued adherence to the public health advice is in anyway less effective.

“We must continue to wash our hands, wear a face covering where appropriate, maintain our social distance and continue to adhere to the public health advice.”

Mr Liam Woods, Director of Acute Hospitals, HSE said: “Our hospitals and our frontline healthcare workers are working under the enormous strain COVID-19 is exerting on our health service. 1,789 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, 169 of those in intensive care.

“The best way we can protect our health service and support our frontline workers is to stay home and continue to adhere to the public health advice.”

New Cases in Laois

  • January 13 – 60
  • January 12 – 45
  • January 11 – 40
  • January 10 – 63
  • January 9 – 105
  • January 8 – 6
  • January 7 – 55
  • January 6 – 82
  • January 5 – 107
  • January 4 – 12
  • January 3 – 80
  • January 2 – 40
  • January 1 – 104
  • December 31 – 12
  • December 30 – 50

14-day case rate in Laois per 100,000 population

  • January 13 – 952.8
  • January 12 – 941
  • January 11 – 913.8
  • January 10 – 911.5
  • January 9 – 843
  • January 8 – 722.6
  • January 7 – 742.6
  • January 6 – 689.5
  • January 5 – 606.9
  • January 4 – 493.5
  • January 3 – 494.7
  • January 2 – 406.2
  • January 1 – 381.4
  • December 31 – 271.6
  • December 30 – 269.2

New cases in Laois during past 14 days

    • January 13 – 807
    • January 12 – 797
    • January 11 – 774
    • January 10 – 772
    • January 9 – 714
    • January 8 – 612
    • January 7 – 629
    • January 6 – 584
    • January 5 – 514
    • January 4 – 418
    • January 3 – 419
    • January 2 – 344
    • January 1 – 323
    • December 31 – 230
    • December 30 – 228

Special Schools set to reopen

Schools and some classes catering for children with physical and intellectual disabilities could reopen in a week’s time.

After talks with trade union representatives this morning, Minister for Education Norma Foley said that it is a “shared ambition” of both her and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and Fórsa trade union that special schools open again for students on 21 January, as well as special classes for children with disabilities in primary schools.

Minister Foley said the pause put on her plans to partially reopen schools had given her the opportunity to listen to the concerns of primary and special education stakeholders and to engage intensively with key stakeholders, with Public Health and with disability advocacy groups.

She said: “I very much hope that we can work together to set out a pathway for the return of all children at all levels of schooling at the start of February, subject of course to Government and public health consideration of what constitutes the safe movement of people at that point.”

SEE ALSO – LaoisToday Podcast: John Mulholland on Covid, council challenges, economic development and his dream project

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.