HSE chief urges people to 'retract' any New Year's plans

The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid has appealed to people to re-think their...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.54 31 Dec 2020

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HSE chief urges people to 'ret...

HSE chief urges people to 'retract' any New Year's plans

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.54 31 Dec 2020

Share this article

The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid has appealed to people to re-think their New Year's plans.

It comes after 1,620 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported here on Thursday.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said Ireland is "no longer in a containment phase".


This means close contacts of a confirmed case are no longer being advised to get tested.

Dr Holohan explained: "Testing and tracing is an exercise in containment and we are no longer in a containment phase.

"However, it is imperative that if you are a close contact of a confirmed case you restrict your movements and contact your GP immediately if you develop symptoms."

It comes a day after the Government announced a new month-long lockdown which will see all non-essential retail stores close.

Some 490 people with the disease were in Irish hospitals on Thursday morning - a figure which has almost doubled in the past week.

While the figure in ICU stands at 42.

Mr Reid earlier told Late Breakfast With Mark Cagney that the country is on a very worrying path in its fight against the virus.

"The growth level that it's at means we all need to retract from any plans that we had, any New Year's Eve plans in particular, that we had.

"When you're out you're at risk, it's as simple as that.

"When you're mixing you're at higher risk, if you're mixing with people outside of your home you're at extreme risk.

"And if you're mixing with a number of people indoors you're at high risk again".

"We are seeing, over the last few days in particular, increasing numbers of people who would need what we call advance respiratory supports.

"They may not be in an ICU unit, but needing some oxygen and ventilation - so that's quite a concerning trend for us".

He said the number of cases on Wednesday was "a very sombre and poignant number that we unfortunately have experienced".

"And what I expect to see today is that rapidly rise once again".

'High risk for everybody'

He explained: "There's a strong likelihood that the trends that we're on you could actually see that certainly double in the next few days, if not today.

"That's the extent of what we are seeing".

He added: "I don't like to bring this message always to the public of how serious it is, but I have a responsibility to do it".

"And that is the level of transmission, that is the level of growth of increase in the virus on a daily basis that we're seeing - which is at really alarming levels".

He said these levels mean there is a "high risk for everybody".

He said some testing centres around the country have recorded a positivity rate of between 25% to 50% this week.

He explained that a combination of a high level of cases, growth rate of cases, the positivity rate and number of close contacts of cases "is what really hurts us".

"We are seeing... entire families coming in for testing and significant numbers of that family then being identified as positive.

"So it is at a rapid rate of transmission, it is at a rate now that we need urgent support and urgent action by all of us."

Main image: HSE CEO Paul Reid in Dr Steeven’s Hospital in Dublin, as he addresses the media at the weekly HSE operational update on the response to COVID-19. Picture by: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Growth Hse Ireland Late Breakfast With Mark Cagney Lockdown New Year's Plans Paul Reid

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