The Department of Health has confirmed that 44 more people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the overall death toll to 530.

A further 597 cases of the coronavirus have also been diagnosed in the Republic.

In addition, there are 112 cases of Covid-19 from the backlog of tests at the laboratory in Germany bringing today's new cases to 709.

There is now a total of 13,980 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Of today's reported deaths, 33 were located in the east, three were in the northwest, three were in the south and five were in the west of the country.

The deaths included 19 females and 25 males and the median age of today's reported deaths is 84.

Of the 44 cases, 25 people were reported as having underlying health conditions.

A summary of all 530 deaths provided by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that 308 (58%) of those who died were male and 222 (42%) were female.

The age range of those who have died is 25-105 years, while 316 of these cases were admitted to hospital with 45 admitted to Intensive Care Units.

The median age of people who have died to date is 83.

One-third of ICU cases discharged

A third of people with Covid-19 who have been treated in intensive care so far have been discharged.

To date, there have been 296 admissions to ICU.

153 people are still receiving treatment there, while 98 people have been discharged. 

From these 296 admissions, 45 people have died in intensive care. 

82% of people admitted to ICU had an underlying medical condition (243).

The median age of all ICU admissions so far is 60.

The death toll in the Republic of Ireland linked to Covid-19 is now 530. 

At this evening's briefing at the Department of Health, the Chief Medical Officer said that 316, or 59%, of the 530 total deaths in the Republic occurred in a hospital setting.

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A further 18 people have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland hospitals, bringing the overall hospital figure to 176.

Today, 137 additional cases of Covid-19 were also confirmed in Northern Ireland, taking the total there to 2,338.

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person and within two metres of them, to be considered at-risk, or a close contact.

CMO to seek change to case definition

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has confirmed that he will seek to change the case definition for Covid-19 ''to make it more sensitive'' towards the end of next week.

But he cautioned this was conditional on whether the disease continues to follow the same pattern and the rate of growth drops.

Dr Holohan said he was making that assumption based on whether the disease continues to "behave itself".

If that happens, he said, the new definition will be updated and become operational in roughly a fortnight.

He said GPs will have time to prepare for any new case definition because they will be working on the frontline.

Dr Holohan said any spare capacity for testing will be used for healthcare workers and patients.

He said he hopes to have sampling, results and tests back to patients on a 'real time basis' within the next seven to ten days. The aim is to carry out 100,000 tests a week.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said the strategy now was to ''aggressively test and pursue'' all suspected cases in nursing home settings and for staff.

''It is the biggest at risk setting for us at the moment,'' Dr Henry said.

The HSE has already visited some nursing homes in the east to carry out tests.

The National Ambulance Service has been to take samples and they are on their way to labs, according to Dr Holohan.

He said we will ''do our very best'' to get everyone tested in residential settings over the next seven to ten days.

There are 30,000 staff working in nursing homes and an estimated 28,000 residents.

Asked if he was comfortable with the idea of workers being flown into the country from abroad, Dr Tony Holohan said he was not.

While he did not want to be seen to comment on any individual cases, he said it was not consistent with public health advice.

Dr Holohan also said he was not recommending the public take residents or family members out of nursing homes.

He has also advised people not to visit nursing homes under the current guidelines.

The Department of Health is working with HIQA to give independent reporting that the right measures are being taken in nursing homes across the country.

Dr Henry added: ''The best and safest place for residents is to stay in nursing homes.''

If residents are removed from a nursing home setting, they run a greater risk of transmission in the community, he said.

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The Health Service Executive's Chief Operating Officer has said testing for both staff and residents will be enhanced in residential care settings to counter the spread of Covid-19.

Anne O'Connor said there would also be extra staff redeployed where needed.

There have been 335 outbreaks of coronavirus in residential care settings, the HSE has confirmed. There are 196 nursing homes included in these clusters.

This means Covid-19 has infected approximately 30% of all nursing homes in Ireland.

Ms O'Connor said "some but not all" of these homes are experiencing difficulties coping with the disease.

11 Covid-19 related deaths confirmed in Dublin nursing home

The Health Service Executive has confirmed that 11 people have died at one nursing home in Dublin since 2 April.

Of the 11 people who died at St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park, ten tested positive for Covid-19 and the eleventh person is a suspected case, which is awaiting confirmation.

St Mary's provides care for older people and has 198 residential places in total.

In a statement, the HSE expressed its sympathies to the friends and families of those who died saying "our thoughts are with them at this difficult time".

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Meanwhile, more than 1,000 internships will be available to medical graduates in Ireland this year.

This afternoon, 197 medical students from University College Cork (UCC) were conferred during an online ceremony. 

The class of 2020 was addressed by the Taoiseach via video at the graduation, which was brought forward to get more doctors into the field during this pandemic. 

"We need you to graduate early and start work as interns early, because there's so much work to be done," he said. 

Some of the students will be starting work in hospitals and community settings next month. 

Mr Varadkar said that "for the first time ever", over 1,000 medical internships are available this year, meaning "pretty much everyone graduating this year" will be offered one. 

Elsewhere, Keelings fruit company has responded to criticism for flying in fruitpickers from Bulgaria by explaining that they need 900 seasonal workers but only received 40 Irish applications for the jobs.

On Monday, 189 seasonal workers flew on a charter flight from Sofia to Dublin to work at Keelings farm in north Co Dublin for the six-month fruit-picking season.

Keelings said all the workers "had been health screened by a doctor before they travelled to Sofia airport where they were temperature checked before entry".

"Ryanair and Dublin Airport can confirm that all regulations were adhered to. They were taken straight to their housing," the company said in a statement this afternoon.