Hospitals "extremely anxious of what lies ahead" says HSE chief

ireland
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Muireann Duffy
The HSE's chief executive officer Paul Reid has said while hospitals are coping at the minute, many are "extremely anxious of what lies ahead" as the number of patients being treated for Covid-19 in Irish hospitals continues to rise.

Currently, 238 people have been hospitalised with the virus, of which 29 were being treated in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) around the country. This is despite a fall in the number of people both attending and being admitted to hospital overall, both compared to last week and the same week last year.

Mr Reid told the HSE's weekly press briefing today that 25 per cent of hospitalisations were in people under 35 years of age, 27 per cent were people between 35 and 64, while the largest category was those aged over 65, accounting for 47 per cent of admissions. In ICUs, nine patients admitted were between 34 and 64, while 13 were over 65.

Mr Reid also welcomed the €4 billion for the healthcare service announced in Tuesday's budget.

The HSE chief confirmed that 81 facilities have been involved in serial testing, accounting for 30,109 tests with a detection rate of 0.42 per cent. In nursing homes, 569 facilities have been widely tested, with 59,266 tests carried out and 266 cases being detected.

Hospital capacity

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Chief operational officer, Ann O'Connor added that the national weekly average of people waiting on a trolley in Irish hospitals is 146, while there were 173 patients recorded this morning at 8am.

Ms O'Connor added that although attendance and admissions nationally are down in the past week, bed capacity is low, marking the high level of scheduled care work taking place, highlighting that some sites are experiencing "particular capacity challenges", including Cork and Limerick.

Currently, the HSE is supporting 1,081 nursing homes, of which Ms O'Connor said one has been classed as a "significant concern", while 25 have been placed in an 'amber' category, increasing from 16 on September 14th.

Warning from Europe

Chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry remarked that Ireland has generally been "lagging a few weeks behind mainland Europe" in terms of Covid-19 trends, affording us the opportunity to see how quickly cases convert to hospitalisations and admissions to ICUs.

Mr Henry added that the 1,095 cases confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) represented a four fold increase in the past month, adding that some of the virus markers referred to by public health experts over the past few weeks have "gone beyond the exponential projections".

Nphet is due to meet today to discuss whether Level 3 restrictions have sufficiently worked to curb the spread of the virus, or whether increased measures are required.

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From midnight tonight, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan will move to Level 4 of the Government's Living with Covid plan, with increased restrictions on household visits being imposed on the entire country.

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