The chief executive of the University Hospital Limerick group has warned that the current situation in the hospital is “as stark” as it was during the first wave of the Covid pandemic.
Colette Cowan said there were 13 patients receiving intensive care treatment in the hospital even though there are only 12 beds in the unit. Patients are also being treated in high dependency beds.
“ICU is full at this moment in time,” she told RTÉ radio's News at One.
The hospital’s elective work will have to be halted to cope with the current volume of Covid cases, said Ms Cowan.
Meanwhile, Cork University Hospital said its emergency department was “exceptionally busy”, with the number of Covid-positive patients putting significant pressure on services.
“The Hospital Surge Plan is currently being implemented and unfortunately this may result in the cancellation of a number of non-urgent procedures,” a statement from the hospital said.
As of Friday morning, there are 643 Covid-positive patients in hospitals in the State, including 118 in intensive care.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the situation in the country’s large hospitals had become “quite precarious” and that the focus was now on urgent care.
In a letter to hospitals, Mr Reid warned that “the entire health system, both hospitals and community healthcare, are now under very serious pressure”.
“If the disease continues to spread as it has in the past two weeks, we face the prospect of any remaining capacity being insufficient to meet anticipated demand,” Mr Reid said. – Additional reporting: Vivienne Clarke