Additional ICU surge capacity needed, says Donnelly as 1,173 Covid cases confirmed

Additional Icu Surge Capacity Needed, Says Donnelly As 1,173 Covid Cases Confirmed Additional Icu Surge Capacity Needed, Says Donnelly As 1,173 Covid Cases Confirmed
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said there may be over 200 people in ICU with Covid in a few months time. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said plans to increase intensive care unit (ICU) capacity are being considered to prepare for another surge in hospitalisations caused by the Delta variant, as the highest daily number of Covid-19 cases was confirmed by the Department of Health.

As of midnight on Thursday, 1,173 additional cases of the virus were reported, the highest number the start of February.

There are now 79 patients in hospital with the virus (down one on Thursday's figures), 23 of whom are being treated in intensive care (up one on Thursday).

The North also passed the 1,000 mark again on Friday, recording 1,380 new cases, the highest number in over six months.


While the rollout of the vaccine has offered considerable protection against severe disease to those who are fully vaccinated, concerns remain regarding the spread of the virus among unvaccinated people, who HSE chief executive Paul Reid said are the “new vulnerable”.

Health officials have urged those who are not yet vaccinated to avoid "high-risk" activities, such as socialising in crowded and/or indoor settings.

Case numbers have grown rapidly over the last number of weeks, particularly among younger cohorts who have only recently been extended the opportunity to register for their jab.

Speaking about the impact the Delta variant may have, Mr Donnelly said: “We don't know how bad it's going to get.

“We know there was [around] 1,000 cases yesterday, I think there's going to be around 1,200 cases today and I know that I was talking to [Prof] Philip Nolan this morning about over 200 people being in intensive care in a few months time.”

The Minister added that he has begun talks with his department on preparing hospitals for another wave of the virus. “We are going to have to start building up additional surge capacity for ICU now, in case it happens,” he said.

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Earlier today, Mr Reid confirmed 75 per cent of the country's adult population are now partially vaccinated, while 60 per cent fully vaccinated.

Five million vaccines have been administered in the State to date, he added, while the HSE vaccine registration portal has also opened for people aged between 25-29.

“The race continues. Rising cases of Delta are matched by more people being protected... Caution is still key,” Mr Reid tweeted.

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