The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital fell to 705 yesterday shortly after restrictions were lifted, the lowest since early March.
Of these, 42 were in intensive care, which corresponds to mid-March.
While the level is still significant enough to disrupt hospitals, it’s a signal that the current wave is faltering as the country heads into summer and more outdoor activities, which will reduce the likelihood of it spreading.
3,348 cases of the virus were reported yesterday, including 1,407 positive by a PCR test, with the rest registering their result with the HSE.
It comes as a study of antibody levels in blood donors between last October and mid-last January suggests the number of people infected with the virus could be almost a third higher than official figures.
The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has been infected or vaccinated in the past.
The study by the Blood Transfusion Service and Health Protection Surveillance Center found that while 97 percent of those who donated blood during that time had antibodies, only 92 percent were vaccinated.
Among those aged 40 to 49, 93 percent were vaccinated, but 99 percent had antibodies.
It suggested that only one in two infections in people aged 20 to 29 was officially reported, as were just four in five positive cases in people in their 30s.
Around three out of five infections in people over 50 made it, according to official figures.
The study pointed to immunity in the population as a result of high levels of antibodies, although this is no guarantee against infection.
Meanwhile, researchers in Spain have released details of a 31-year-old woman who contracted Covid-19 twice in three weeks.
The case report was presented yesterday at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Lisbon. The 20-day gap between infections is the shortest known.
The woman, a healthcare worker, first tested positive in a PCR test during a staff screening at her workplace on December 20 last year.
She was fully vaccinated and had received a booster dose 12 days earlier. The patient, who developed no symptoms, was self-isolated for 10 days before returning to work.
This past January 10, just 20 days after the first positive test, she developed a cough, fever and general discomfort and took another PCR test. That too was positive.
The first infection in December was with the Delta variant. The second in January was Omicron.
dr Gemma Recio, from the Institut Català de Salut in Tarragona, Spain, said: “It underscores the potential of the Omicron variant to circumvent previous immunity through natural infection with other variants or through vaccines.
“People who have had Covid cannot assume that they will be protected from reinfection even if they have been fully vaccinated.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/number-of-virus-patients-in-hospital-now-at-lowest-level-since-early-march-41572216.html Number of virus patients in hospital now at lowest level since early March