There have been no further deaths of people with Covid-19, while an additional 56 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has said.
Monday’s figures bring the total number of deaths in the Republic to 1,774, while the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 27,313.
Meanwhile, Nphet is meeting on Monday evening to consider further recommendations for the Government after 266 cases of the virus were confirmed over the weekend.
Of the cases confirmed on Monday, 35 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case, while 12 cases have been identified as community transmission.
Twenty six are in Kildare, 13 in Dublin and the rest of the 17 cases are in Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Laois, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Westmeath and Wicklow.
Some 79 per cent of the cases are in people who are under 45 years of age, the Department of Health said. Of the newly-confirmed cases, 29 were men and 27 of the cases are women.
It is believed 18 cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed associated with an outbreak at a mushroom processing facility in Golden, Co Tipperary. Local HSE officials told TDs of the other cases on Sunday evening, it is understood. Added to the 11 positive tests from workers at Walsh’s mushrooms last week, the total linked to the outbreak is now 29.
The HSE set up a testing facility in Golden over the weekend, which has now been dismantled. However, a spokesman for HSE/South East Community Healthcare said there may be a similar follow-up testing exercise in the next week. Local Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill said he is “happy that testing was completed efficiently and quickly”.
Earlier, the Minister for Health said he expects an increase in the number of deaths and hospitalisations as a result of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
Stephen Donnelly said the daily number of cases is increasing and, therefore, the fatality rate was expected to increase.
“If you look at the daily number of cases, it is going up,” Mr Donnelly told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland. “If you look at the sad reality, there can be a time lag between cases and hospitalisations… it stands to reason that there will be a fatality rate following that.”
Further restrictions to protect the elderly and other vulnerable groups from Covid-19 are being considered on Monday by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) amid “deep concern” about a sharp increase in confirmed cases.
Sources indicated that the team would consider potentially “significant” new measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Dr Glynn briefed Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan on Sunday and is understood to have outlined concerns about house parties and socialising being responsible for the growing number of cases.
Senior Government sources said there was growing anxiety about “Covid fatigue” among the public now people were travelling around the country after being advised to holiday in the State and could also visit other peoples’ homes.
Dr Glynn warned that every county had experienced some new Covid-19 cases in the last fortnight and that this would need to be taken into account by Nphet.
Mr Donnelly said there are no plans to bring in local restrictions in any other part of the country. Restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly are due to be lifted on Sunday, he said.
He also said the outbreaks in nursing homes are being addressed in a new report which will be published on Tuesday.
He said Nphet is examining a “massive” increase in testing in Direct Provision centres and in meat processing plants and there is a review on testing turnaround times which he admitted has become “strained”.
Mr Donnelly said the scenes from the Berlin D2 bar, where videos on social media showed a barman pouring spirits into the mouths of customers, at the weekend were a “slap in the face for everyone who is trying to suppress the virus”.
But he said of the 3,000 licensed premises that have been allowed to open, there have been just 27 breaches of the Covid-19 guidelines and the “vast majority of men and women in the country are doing what is right”.
Berlin bar co-owner Jay Bourke said the scenes at the bar had left him “very unhappy indeed and embarrassed” but having reviewed four hours of CCTV footage, he said the incident involved was an aberration and the crowd had been generally well behaved. The barman had got carried away, he said.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Paddy Mallon has called for “swift, reactive and responsive” measures for people breaking Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing.
Prof Mallon said images from the bar had been “very disappointing” to the general public and to health care workers. The reaction had been summed up well by hospitality sector representatives who said that they had been let down.
“In general we just need an element of refocus, we need to maintain the level of engagement over a long period of time to make clear the focus.”