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Covid-19: New recommendations for contact tracing

Tracing teams to focus on 48-hour period before onset of symptoms

The country’s chief medical officer says the window of contact tracing is to focus on the 48-hour period prior to the onset of Covid19 symptoms, as this will cover asymptomatic transmission.

At this evening’s briefing, Dr Tony Holohan confirmed that there were 17 deaths due to the virus and a further 325 cases confirmed in Ireland.

As of March 29, there were 36 confirmed cases of Covid19 in Kilkenny and five or fewer in Carlow.

There have been 71 deaths so far, with 83 per cent of them over the age of 70, he said, offering his condolences to the loved ones of those whose lives have been lost to the virus.

A total of 54 of those who died had underlying health conditions, and 59 people had passed away in hospital.

During an earlier meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team, he said they discussed contact tracing arrangements.

Dr Holohan says the average number of close contacts of patients with coronavirus is three.

A total of 703 people have been hospitalised with Covid19, 113 of whom are in intensive care.

One quarter of the transmissions are among healthcare workers.

He noted that the recommendations to be made to contact tracing teams to narrow the window of contact tracing included the period to identify being the 48 hour period prior to the onset of symptoms, as this will cover asymptomatic transmission.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, who is chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, said that people were waiting up to ten days for the result of a coronavirus tests. He said it was due to issues with laboratory capacity but efforts were being made to reduce the waiting time.

The team was also looking at how to strengthen support to staff and providers of nursing home care.

The medical advice for those waiting for the result of a test remains that they should treat themselves as if they have the virus and isolate themselves for 14 days.