Almost 6,000 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed by Department of Health 1 week ago

Almost 6,000 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed by Department of Health

121 patients are in ICU with the virus.

The Department of Health has reported 5,959 new cases of Covid-19 throughout Ireland, according to new figures released on Saturday, 20 November.

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As of Saturday morning, 640 patients are in hospital in relation to the virus.

Of those, 121 are in ICU.

The figures arrive at a critical time in the pandemic, with the latest modelling data suggesting that the country will see over 200,000 active cases next month.

Debate continues over the use of antigen testing, with Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan reportedly urging the Government not to provide subsidised antigen tests, warning that such a measure could lead to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.

According to the Irish Times, Holohan wrote a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly earlier this week, arguing that members of the public could use the tests incorrectly, thus leading to more cases instead of fewer.

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The CMO has previously insisted that anyone displaying Covid-like symptoms should prioritise a PCR test over an antigen test.

"There's still two weeks between now and the beginning of December, so a minimum of 200,000 cases occurring in December, all of which are preventable. Each one of us can take simple measures," he said on Wednesday.

"People who are cases and who are symptomatic, they simply must self-isolate and then get a PCR test. Not an antigen test."

New information released by the Economic and Social Research Institute, meanwhile, suggests that the public has largely been ignoring Government advice to cut back on social activities.

The report, published on Friday (19 November), points to only a "slight decline in overall activity" at a time when Covid-19 cases have steadily risen at alarming rates throughout the country.

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It should be noted that the study was carried out between 3 – 10 November, and thus prior to the latest round of restrictions coming into effect, though NPHET advice on winding back social contacts had been issued during this timeframe.

1,000 adults in total were surveyed with the aim of discovering whether the sharp increase in Covid cases would trigger a "substantive" change in public behaviour. However, the results signalled only a "modest" difference.