Holohan is looking for stronger public health messages as Nphet advises working from home

The state public health team has advised the Government that people should work from home whenever possible amid growing cases of Covid-19.

A letter from Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan was to be sent to the Government on Thursday night requesting that public health messaging be strengthened before Christmas.

The National Crisis Team on Public Health (Nphet) met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation of Covid-19.

A source said that although they recommended that people be asked to work from home when possible, the letter contained no mandatory orders for work from home and that businesses “are not asked to close a shop”.

They said the team was focused on cutting social contacts and asking people to work from home where it might help with this goal.

“The message is that if people didn’t need to work, then ideally they wouldn’t be.”

The source said Nphet did not recommend any additional restrictions.

The Cabinet is expected to consider Nphet’s latest recommendation at its meeting next Tuesday.

The move to recommend an increased level of work from home came after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said earlier that an order on work from home was not something the Government was considering.

“In terms of regulation or government policy, that’s not something we’re looking at,” he said, adding that the Government has also not considered extending the requirement for Covid certifications to other areas such as gyms and hairdressers.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin reiterated Thursday that he did not anticipate a dramatic return to restrictions.

A further 3,680 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by Nphet on Thursday.

As of 8 a.m., 543 Covid-19 patients had been hospitalized, of whom 97 were in intensive care units.

Youngest death

Figures released yesterday by the Health Surveillance Protection Center show that a 14-year-old has become the youngest person in the State to die from Covid-19.

The teenager was one of 25 people who died in the period between November 3rd and 9th. They were one of six people under the age of 25 who died in the State due to Covid-19 in the pandemic to date. The previous youngest person to die from Covid-19 was 17.

The oldest person to die was 105. The average age of those who died was 80 and the median age (the point at which an equal number of people are older and younger) was 82.

A total of 5,566 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 in the State since the beginning of the pandemic. Ninety-one percent were over 65 years old and 41.3 percent were over 85 years old.

Monaghan has the highest number of deaths per capita, with a death rate of 169.4 per 100,000 of the population, followed by Mayo (167), Louth (166), Cavan (157.5) and Kildare (154.2). Kerry has the lowest rate in the country at 56.2 per 100,000.

There were 45,352 recently confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the fortnight between October 27 and November 9. Of those, 1,072 were in health care workers.

There were 6,330 cases in children in primary school age between five and 12 years (14 percent), with 2,727 in adolescents between 13 and 18, 4,868 in those between 19 and 24, 6,875 in those between 25 and 34 and 7,856 in those between 25 and 34 35 and 44.

Nearly a quarter of those who tested positive were close contact from a known confirmed case, an additional 22.8 were the result of community distribution and 51 percent are still being investigated.

In Northern Ireland, 1,462 new cases have been reported and there have been six coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours.

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