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Hospitals ‘coping but under pressure’ as a result of Covid-19 – Paul Reid

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The confirmed number of cases in hospital and intensive care units (ICUs) remains steady despite the recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

As of 8am on Saturday morning, there were 260 people in hospital as a result of Covid-19, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

This was 16 more than the 244 that were in hospital at 8am on Friday morning. However, the number of patients with Covid-19 is very fluid. There were 19 admissions and 18 discharges in the 24 hours.

The number of people in ICU has also remained steady over the last week with 30 people in intensive care units as of 8am. There was one admission and one discharge from ICUs. There are currently 31 ICU beds available across the system.

There are currently 31 patients with Covid-19 in Cavan General Hospital, 23 in Cork University Hospital and 19 in Tallaght.

Reacting to the latest hospital figures, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said he had spoken to hospital managers and consultants.

Their feedback was that they were “coping but under pressure” and trying to protect non-Covid care.

He also stated there was concern among hospital managers that increased community transmission would lead to health service staff getting sick “at a key time when we need them”, he said in a tweet.

He reiterated that the key to getting the virus under control is the behaviour of each of us.

Speaking on the Saturday on RTÉ’s Katie Hannon Show, HSE infectious disease specialist Dr Anne Dee said “we are looking at a very difficult period ahead” and that we could still be looking at a similar situation in Italy earlier on in the year when hospitals were overwhelmed with cases.

Dr Dee said the recent data suggests that Covid-19 is going back into the older age group.

“Very quickly we could find ourselves in a position of not being able to cope and our health services being overwhelmed,” she said.

“The trajectory is very frighteningly upwards. In the last couple of weeks we have seen Covid-19 in households. We are seeing it now going back into nursing homes. A lot of it goes back to mixing and socialising with alcohol,” he said.

“We need to call a halt at this point and get it back under control.”

Speaking during the week, the HSE’s national clinical advisor Dr Colm Henry said the stabilisation of numbers in ICU units is as a result of the virus affecting a younger cohort of the population.

He also stated that doctors have better treatments for the disease which prevents people going into ICUs.

He predicted that the numbers in hospitals and ICUs will increase as community transmission increases and the virus gets into the older age groups that are more vulnerable to the disease.

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