From a discouraging note for those planning summer holidays abroad to a reference to sinusitis frequently presenting as a symptom of Covid-19, here are six things we learned from this evening's Covid-19 briefing.
New hospital admissions are declining
There are 1,436 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 207 in intensive care, which is down four from yesterday.
Professor Philip Nolan said the number of patients being treated in hospital has declined over the past two weeks and that the numbers in ICU have plateaued and are beginning to come down.
Professor Nolan expressed his concern at the plateau in case numbers and said that it is important to maintain individual efforts "in terms of reducing contacts, in working from home, and above all to maintain efforts around the basic measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance and hand washing".
Professor Philip Nolan says the number of #Covid19 patients in hospital has declined a lot over the past two weeks, while the numbers in ICU have plateaued and are beginning to slowly come down. However, case numbers remain a concern | https://t.co/jMUdGYe1Mz pic.twitter.com/Fgi2euhszK— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
'People are acquiring this in their workplaces'
Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn emphasised the importance of not going into your workplace unless it was essential.
He said that last week there was 29 outbreaks in work places of different settings and he said it was "becoming apparent is people are getting this in their workplaces."
He also said it is possible that people "may be letting their guard drop a little bit" and noted that this is particularly dangerous due to the increased transmissability of new strains of the virus.
"Every time we now drop our guard, it's likely to have graver consequences now than it would’ve a few months ago," he said.
'People are acquiring this in their workplaces' Deputy CMO Dr @ronan_glynn says of #Covid19 transmission trends, adding 'Now is not the time to be going into your workplace unless you really have to' | https://t.co/jMUdGYe1Mz pic.twitter.com/eAOjVi6utr— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
'The virus doesn't care what part of the workplace you're in' - Deputy CMO Dr @ronan_glynn says a lot of workplace transmission of #Covid19 appears to be taking place in staff rooms and on breaks, with people possibly letting their guard down | https://t.co/q5vLHHJ71e pic.twitter.com/XVKmi89Pgc— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
Summer holidays abroad are not recommended
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said that he foresees another summer without non-essential foreign travel.
"I don't think we’re headed for a summer where millions of people can be expecting to go to beaches other than in their own localities," he said.
"I don’t think it’s realistic to foresee a summer that would be characterised by things we would all like to do, where we would travel off to Europe for holidays."
He emphasised that NPHET’s advice is against all forms of non-essential travel for the forseeable future.
'I don't think we're headed for a summer where millions of people from this part of the world, from Europe, can expect to be heading to beaches that are other than in their own localities', @CMOIreland says | #Covid19 | https://t.co/q5vLHHJ71e pic.twitter.com/x0wUzXR3m7— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
Zero Covid seen as impractical
Dr Holohan said the NPHET strategy is not dramatically different to what is proposed by campaigners for a Zero Covid island, but there are some important differences.
He stressed the interconnectedness that is an essential element of the European Union and highlighted the shared border on the island of Ireland.
On calls for a zero-Covid approach, @CMOIreland Dr Tony Holohan acknowledges there are eminent colleagues advocating for it, but says it is not practicable in Ireland the way it is in the likes of New Zealand and Australia given the geopolitical facts | https://t.co/q5vLHHJ71e pic.twitter.com/EIbNrWwgp6— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
Professor Philip Nolan says 'our lives are not going to return to normal - they're going to get better, but they're not going to return to normal - for some considerable time'. High levels of vaccine-induced immunity will be needed for that to happen | https://t.co/jMUdGYe1Mz pic.twitter.com/PdjHyxTHVS— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021
'A lot of sinusitis does seem to be Covid'
Dr Siobháin Ní Bhriain told the briefing that they are seeing a lot more people presenting with sinusitis than usual.
She added that many are then testing positive for Covid-19.
She said GPs are referring people for tests if they have any respiratory problems, including sinusitis, and that if you are feeling in any way unwell or experience any symptoms, to get in touch with your GP and they will be able to offer you advice and arrange a test if necessary.
On Long Covid, Dr Ní Bhriain also noted that some of the symptoms people are presenting with include mental health issues.
Five-day moving average of cases is 1,288 per day
The Department of Health has been notified of ten further coronavirus-related deaths and 1,062 confirmed cases.
The number of people who have died with Covid-19 is now 3,317, while the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 197,553.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn announced that the five-day moving average of cases is at 1,288 new cases per day.
The 14-day national incidence rate is at 479 cases per 100,000 of the population.
The five-day moving average of Covid-19 cases in Ireland is 1,288 cases per day, Deputy CMO Dr @ronan_glynn reports as he sets out the latest #Covid19 figures | https://t.co/jMUdGYe1Mz pic.twitter.com/JrReWeyZI3— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 1, 2021