Dr Tony Holohan has said that Ireland still hasn’t reached the peak case numbers for the Delta variant.
NPHET and the government are to meet this week as the country looks set to take another important step towards reopening — with the updated Covid-19 roadmap to be published on August 31.
It’s expected that the updated strategy will chart Ireland’s path from September through winter.
However, it’s likely that a further easing of restrictions won’t occur until later in September.
Despite this optimistic outlook, the CMO has once again expressed caution due to the impact of the Delta variant on case numbers.
Speaking this evening, Holohan said: “Over the course of the last seven days, 32 people with Covid-19 were admitted to critical care facilities and today, there are a total of 60 people with Covid-19 receiving critical care. The median age of those in ICU is 55 – this means that 50% of the patients currently in ICU with Covid-19 are aged less than 55 years.
“Over the weekend, we reported that the number of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital in a single day had reached a level not seen since mid-February this year.
“Unfortunately, all of this indicates that we are still not at the peak of this wave of Covid-19 and that many people continue to experience severe illness due to Covid-19.”
Earlier this evening, health authorities reported 1,592 new cases of the virus with 318 people hospitalised, of which 60 are in ICU.
Despite the positive progress on Ireland’s vaccination programme, the CMO is still encouraging anyone who has not received the jab to do so immediately.
He added: “While our vaccination programme continues to offer great hope, at this point in time, only 53% of 16- to 29-year-olds are fully vaccinated. This age group continues to account for the highest incidence of COVID-19 in our population.
“Anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine, should do so as soon as possible. It is vital that all of us complete our vaccination schedule – you will be fully protected 7-14 days after your second dose.
“Consider each activity you take part in for its level of risk. Continue to regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate, keep your distance and avoid crowds. Manage your social contacts and choose outdoors where possible for meeting others. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild self-isolate immediately and arrange a test through the HSE or your GP.”
The CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, recently confirmed that almost 6.6m vaccines have now been administered and that 91% of adults are partially vaccinated.
85% of adults are fully vaccinated, 135,000 people in the 12-15 cohort are registered, and that 77,000 jabs for those in that category have also been administered.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the easing of restrictions with the government which will be followed by a meeting of the Covid-19 sub-committee on Friday.