Nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals are reporting a high number of younger people “very sick” with Covid-19, according to the chief of the health service.
The HSE’s Paul Reid said hospitals are not just seeing older people affected by the virus.
As of Friday morning there are 1,846 people hospitalised with the virus and 171 in intensive care units (ICU), he said.
“What our nurses and doctors are seeing [is] a high level of younger people really very sick,” Mr Reid said.
“We have not gone into what we would call our surge capacity on beds, but if the level of projections of what we have currently in the hospital transpire into ICU beds, that will increase absolutely — probably close to about 350,” he said of the health service’s surge capacity limit.
32 intensive care beds are currently available nationwide, across both adult and paediatric units. More than 100 people with Covid-19 are currently on ventilators.
Figures from the HSE last night show that 13 hospitals currently do not have any capacity remaining within ICU for adults.
These include hospitals in Galway, Letterkenny, Portlaoise, Navan and Naas.
Over the past seven days, 173,276 tests have been carried out across the State, with a positivity rate of 16 per cent.
Unfortunately, our #COVID19 hospital cases continue to rise, 1,846 this morning & 171 in ICU. People are extremely sick with this virus. Despite some hopeful trends on transmission levels, it's still hugely prevalent in your area. Please stick with us. @HSELive
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) January 15, 2021
Almost half of all cases of Covid-19 ever reported in Ireland have been returned in the last fortnight, health officials have said.
A 25-year-old was among those who have died this month, while the oldest was aged 98.
Hospitals are under intense pressure and an optimistic outcome could see 800 being treated by the end of the month, those modelling the disease’s spread said on Thursday.
Another 3,955 cases were confirmed on Thursday evening, while 28 deaths were confirmed.
Significant levels of Covid-19 mortality lie ahead, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn warned.
The Dáil heard on Thursday that Covid-19 hospital updates make for “grim reading,” with intensive care (ICU) capacity expected to be used up nationwide by the weekend.
“Overwhelmed” staff at the country’s most Covid-19 hit hospital have described patients “on top of one another” in its corridors as it battles a surge of coronavirus cases.