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Coronavirus: Dublin hospitals under ‘significant pressure’ as county set for Level 3


Some hospital in Dublin are coming under “significant pressure” from the rise of coronavirus cases, head of the HSE Paul Reid has said.

Ireland’s hospitals are not being overwhelmed but “we are seeing the impact of the rising cases”, Mr Reid told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The Government is expected to approve a proposal to move Dublin to Level 3 of the Covid restrictions from Friday midnight.

On Thursday night, health officials reported that one more person had died of Covid-19 and a further 240 cases had been reported.

Dr Glynn said half of the cases (119) were in Dublin, while there was also a growing age profile among those catching the virus.

The latest figures mean the death toll in the State has risen to 1,789. Confirmed cases have now breached the 32,000 mark, climbing to 32,023.

Meanwhile, an emergency medicine consultant has warned that the HSE needs to urgently address the issue of the shortage of intensive care beds rather than trying to reassure people that there isn’t a problem.

Dr Fergal Hickey said that even before Covid the health care system was “critically short” of intensive care beds “at the best of times.” For any one to claim there were sufficient intensive care beds was incorrect, he said.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Dr Hickey said that the evidence contradicted any claims about sufficient critical care bed capacity. While some areas in hospitals could be turned into extra critical care capacity, the reality was that there was a shortage, he said.

“As the numbers keep rising people will require hospitalisation and critical care. We are seeing an increase in older people, who are more vulnerable, getting infected and they will require critical care as will some young people,” he said.

Dublin restrictions

Under additional restrictions for Dublin, dining, restaurants and pubs which serve food will only be permitted to open if they have outdoor facilities, or for takeaway services.

Authorities have already decided that pubs that do not serve food, so-called ‘wet pubs’ will stay shut in Dublin when they re-open around the country on on September 21st.

In Dublin, social and family gatherings outside the home are likely to be prohibited, while visitors to the home should be restricted to people from one other household. Sports matches will also be discontinued, though there is an exemption for elite sport, which includes club championship games.

No organised indoor events such as conferences and events in theatres, cinemas or arts venues will be allowed to take place. Outdoor events will be confined to 15 people. Gyms will be permitted to open for individual training only. Churches and places of worship will remain open for private prayer only, though funerals will have an exemption. Even here, however, only 25 mourners will be permitted.

The Government’s public health experts made the latest recommendations on Thursday night, amid growing alarm at the rise in cases in the last seven to 10 days.

An announcement will likely be made by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, later today.

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