COVID-19 epidemiology reporting by HPSC to be streamlined
The Government recently agreed changes to public health advice in relation to isolation and testing requirements for COVID-19 symptoms, cases and close contacts. These changes reflect a transition in the public health response to COVID-19 from extensive case finding and tracing of infection to reduce transmission, towards a response focused on mitigation of the severe impacts of COVID-19.
As part of this transition from extensive case finding, since 28th February testing is only required for certain symptomatic people, including: those aged 55 years and older AND unboosted; those with a high-risk medical condition; those who are immunocompromised; those who live in the same household as a person who is immunocompromised; those who provide care or support for person they know to be immunocompromised; and those who are pregnant. People with symptoms outside of these groups do not require testing (either PCR or antigen), and are advised to self-isolate until 48 hours after symptoms resolve.
While HPSC and Departments of Public Health continue to monitor confirmed cases, the interpretation of these data is limited during this transition away from extensive case finding. In light of this, certain COVID-19 outputs and reports are being reviewed and streamlined. Several reports will be restructured, amalgamated, reduced in frequency or stopped.
The following changes will occur from next week:
- The Weekly Report on the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Ireland will pause to allow for restructuring.
- The Weekly Epidemiological Report on COVID-19 cases aged 0-18 years and COVID-19 mass testing in schools in Ireland will stop as data on cases among children and outbreaks in educational settings are available through the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Ireland Data Hub and the Epidemiology of COVID-19 Outbreaks/Clusters in Ireland Reports
Further changes may occur in the coming weeks.
The HPSC Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Ireland Data Hub will continue to be updated Monday to Friday. However, data presented on the Data Hub should be interpreted in the context of the changed testing policy and prioritisation of outbreak investigations to higher risk settings.
All previous reports will be available in the archive here.
HPSC and surveillance partners will continue to monitor the epidemiologically situation on an ongoing basis between published reports. Throughout the pandemic HPSC and surveillance partners have operated several parallel surveillance systems alongside the surveillance of confirmed cases to better understand the impact of COVID-19, including: outbreaks in priority settings, cases admitted to ICU, mortality related to COVID-19. These ongoing programmes will allow us to continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19, in particular severe disease and transmission in higher risk settings.