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54 deaths since start of month as those skipping second tests a risk


HSE consultant Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain

HSE consultant Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain

HSE consultant Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain

The number of deaths from Covid-19 is rising again amid growing frustration at the refusal of people at risk of having the virus to attend for tests.

As the country heads into a strict six-week lockdown, it emerged that October is turning into a bleak month for fatalities.

Thirteen people were reported to have died from the disease yesterday, bringing the monthly toll to 54 so far.

This compares to five deaths from Covid-19 in August and 35 last month, with a worrying spread of the virus now being seen once again among pensioners.

Meanwhile, as businesses bring down the shutters for the lockdown, yesterday's Covid-19 briefing was told of an alarming trend of people not attending for a second Covid-19 test.

Half of the people identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases are not turning up for a second test, it has emerged.

These contacts need to undergo an initial test and a second test seven days later.

However many are ignoring the second test, said Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain of the HSE.

"Unfortunately, 50pc are not turning up for that second test. The positivity rate for the second test is 2pc or 3pc. They are people we are missing," she said.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan warned about the implications for the spread of the virus due to the refusal of too many people who are waiting for a test, or have tested positive, to properly self-isolate. Around 15,000 have recently tested positive and they should not be sitting down with their families watching television, he said.

It currently takes two days for a person who has symptoms to seek a test and this needs to be tightened.

There is particular concern again about the growing spread of the virus among the over-65s.

Dr Holohan said that for every 1,000 people in this age group who are affected, one in six will be hospitalised and one in five will end up in intensive care with a significant death rate.

He was speaking as 1,269 newly diagnosed cases of the virus were reported yesterday.


Cavan's 14-day incidence rate continues to be the worst in the country at 909.7 per 100,000.

This is followed by Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, Westmeath, Donegal, Cork, Clare and Galway. Meath overtook Dublin yesterday for the highest daily number of cases, rising to 221 new infections.

There were 203 in Dublin, 116 in Cork, 80 in Cavan and 649 spread among the remaining counties.

Dr Holohan said he was hopeful that the lockdown can drive down the number of daily cases to a target of around 100 by early December.

The daily toll is expected to get worse before it gets better over the next two weeks because of the incubation period for the virus. There were 312 patients with the virus in hospitals yesterday and 34 in intensive care units.