The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed a further 520 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and one additional death.
Of the cases notified today 258 are men while 262 are women. The median age is 28 years old while 79% are under 45 years of age.
Of the cases 242 are in Dublin, 36 in Meath, 30 in Offaly, 29 in Kildare, 25 in Wicklow and the remaining 158 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
As of 8am today, 359 patients are hospitalised, of which 81 are in ICU. There were 14 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
As of March 19, 668,529 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “It is a very welcome development to see new visitation guidance for nursing homes coming into effect from today. As we begin to experience the benefits of vaccination, it is a reminder of what we are collectively working towards, a vaccination rollout that, along with our other protective measures, will end this pandemic.
“People have worked exceptionally hard over the past three months to reduce transmission in our communities. We have shown time and again that we can act collectively to protect one another. Please keep this going over the coming weeks.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said; “For the week of the 7-13 of March, 60% of disease incidence is taking place through close contact transmission and 24% in the community. 59% of transmissions are occurring in households. Outside of the household, almost half of transmissions are occurring in social gatherings and the workplace.”
Dr. Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said: “The B117 variant, Ireland’s most dominant variant of COVID-19 accounts for more than 90% of our cases and is extremely transmissible. Public health advice aims to limit the opportunities this virus has to spread, and it should be noted that B117 does not need much opportunity to do so. The most effective way to stop the spread of this variant and all variants of COVID-19 is to limit your social contacts and follow public health advice.”
Dr Máirín Ryan, Deputy CEO of HIQA and Director of Health Technology Assessment, said: “Today, HIQA published an international review on public health measures and strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19. Ireland took a robust approach from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and maintained low hospitalisations and ICU admissions per million population when compared to other countries.
“All countries with a published risk framework that is applied at national level are currently operating at the highest risk level.
“All countries included in the report have launched their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with Israel having the largest share of its population fully vaccinated (47.5%) followed by Switzerland (4.3%) and Denmark (4.2%). In Ireland 3.3% of the population were fully vaccinated by the 12th of March.”