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Only 6% of tests so far returned positive
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan Pic:RollingNews.ie

26 Mar 2020 / Ireland Print

Only 6% of virus tests so far have returned as positive

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed yesterday that two further patients, diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland, have died.

The patients are a female in the east of the country, with an underlying health condition, and a male in the east of the country.

Nine deaths

There have now been nine COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

The HPSC confirmed 235 new cases of COVID-19 as at 1pm yesterday, (Wednesday 25 March.

There are now 1,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

Yesterday’s data from HPSC, as of midnight, Monday 23 March (1,164 cases), reveals:

  • 55% are male and 45% are female, with 63 clusters involving 289 cases, 
  • The median age of confirmed cases is 45 years, 
  • 305 cases (26%) have been hospitalised, 
  • Of those hospitalised, 39 cases have been admitted to ICU, 
  • 283 cases (24%) are associated with healthcare workers, 
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 559, (57% of all cases) followed by Cork with 133 cases (11%), 
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 49%, close contact accounts for 23%, travel abroad accounts for 28%. 

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said:“Our data showed yesterday that only 6% of our tests so far returned positive, so for every 100 people we test we are only finding six people with COVID-19.

Case definition 

“In light of this, our case definition changed.

“Changing case definition is a standard practice in managing pandemics.

Ultimately, we want our 6% detection rate to increase, we want to find as many people as possible with COVID-19, isolate them and contain the spread.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:


“We are seeking to prioritise those who are to be tested with a focus in the short-term on those who are vulnerable and those who are at the highest risk to exposure.

"GPs are best placed to advise individuals with symptoms whether they need a test or not. Ultimately, the test has no impact on the clinical course of this disease and the priority for anyone with symptoms is to isolate themselves.”

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