Masks new key weapon in fight against Covid-19
The number of Covid-19 clusters in Ireland has jumped again to beyond the 2,000 mark with close contact responsible for most of the infection groups.
As the National Public Health Emergency Team warned this week about a new surge in cases, latest published official figures show that there were 2,101 clusters notified to health authorities by July 15.
From Sunday, July 12 Wednesday, July 15 an extra 168 clusters were identified. Almost half of these cases were confirmed between Tuesday and Wednesday.
The number of clusters in Ireland has risen substantially through June and July.
Since the start of June, 1,229 new clusters case were identified. Just 86 clusters emerged between March 16 and May 30. The number has increased at a fast rate since late June.
On June 21, 1,100 had been identified. This has almost doubled within a month to 2,101 in the past week.
Travel abroad was responsible for half cluster in March. Travel bans have led to just 2% clusters being due to overseas trips at present. Community transmission was responsible for nearly 70% of clusters in early April but this has since dropped back to a third of clusters due to lockdown and other restrictions.
Close contact makes up almost two-thirds of clusters - rising steadily since late May. Close contact was responsible for just 20% of cases in March.
A confirmed cluster/outbreak involves contact with two or more cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection regardless of symptom status. This includes cases with symptoms and cases who are asymptomatic.
A confirmed cluster can also be contacted with two or more cases of illness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, and at least one person is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
A suspected cluster/outbreak involves two or more cases of illness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection.
The figures are prepared by the Ordnance Survey Ireland, the All-Island Research Observatory, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the Health Service Executive, the Central Statistics Office and the Department of Health.
Know the symptoms of COVID-19. They are:
a fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above)
a cough - this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
flu like symptoms
If you have symptoms, self-isolate and contact your GP immediately.