Ronan Glynn hopes 85 new coronavirus cases 'is a blip'


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.29 31 Jul 2020


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The Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said he hopes 85 new coronavirus cases reported here on Thursday is "a blip rather than a sign of something more significant". 

Some 18 of those cases are part of an outbreak at a factory in Co Kildare, with some of those workers living in direct provision centres.

Dr Glynn told Newstalk Breakfast people do not need to worry, but need to stay vigilant.

"I don't think people themselves need to worry unduly - we're keeping a very close eye on the numbers.

"And the important thing for each of us as individuals is to remember that the power to control this remains with each of us - notwithstanding the 85 cases yesterday.

"When we hear figures like that it can be very easy to forget that there are still basic things that we can do, that the vast majority of people in this country are continuing to do.

"We all need encouragement to continue doing it.

"This has been going on for six months now and it's completely understandably that people are getting weary and fatigued with it.

"But if people continue to do their basics - to keep their distance, to limit their time with others, to meet up outside if possible, wash your hands, wear a mask, and of course download the COVID Tracker app - if we all continue to do all those things on a regular basis, then hopefully what we saw yesterday will be a blip rather than a sign of something more significant".

Dr Glynn also said such clusters will happen: "The key is that we can identify them quickly and clamp down on them quickly.

"And what we're hoping is in fact that the 85 cases yesterday is an indication that our contact tracing system is working well.

"What we're trying to do is to identify cases and clusters very rapidly and then break chains of transmission.

"But that only works if people put their hands up as soon as they've got symptoms and come forward for testing.

"And it only works if people isolate as soon as they have those symptoms so they don't spread it on to others.

"We know that in the past number of days, hundreds of people have been tested as part of the response to these clusters.

"So we're confident that our systems are working very well., and we are hopeful that those chains of transmission have been broken.

"But we'll only know that as we see how this plays out over the coming days".

He also suggested that tourists coming into Ireland do not account for many cases.

"The vast majority of cases are Irish to Irish transmission, and to a certain extent there have been a number of side debates over the past number of weeks that I think have distracted from the core messages, which are the ones that I listed out there.

"It can lead to people thinking that their own role as individuals is less important - and in fact that's never been more important."

On the case for regional lockdowns going forward, he said: "We have looked at that, but I suppose we look at it through a slightly different lens.

"In the first instance, we look at what happens locally and that's really about the contact tracing and identifying the cases and clusters and getting on top of them really quickly.

"Then there may well be a case for higher-level interventions at a regional level, but that's not necessarily a  lockdown: that involves all of the various arms of the State and State agencies and community organisations coming together to re-enforce the messages and to help to suppress the virus.

"And of course there's always a possibility that things will need to be done at a national level, but hopefully we can avoid that."

"One of the key things is that we're a small country, and if you look at the spread of cases last night they're not in any one region.

"We had 26 in Kildare, 18 in Dublin, 11 in Clare, nine in Laois, seven in Limerick, four in Meath and other cases across even other counties.

"So on any one day, the numbers and the spread of the cases may appear to be in one particular region - but the reality is if you look over a 14 or a 21 day period, the majority of counties in the country are still having cases".

Ronan Glynn hopes 85 new coronavirus cases 'is a blip'

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Main image: Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, at the Department of Health in Dublin. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

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