One to two new admissions are now being seen every day, with a rising number under the age of 45.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET)’s Professor Philip Nolan said the majority of people admitted to intensive care were under 65 and “quite a few are young." 17 people are currently being treated with the virus in intensive care, with nine confirmed cases on ventilators.
“It’s worrying to begin to report. We would have said as cases began to rise several weeks ago that hospitalisations would be delayed and intensive care admissions delayed further," Prof Nolan said.
“Beginning last week but quite clearly this week, we are seeing an increase in the numbers in intensive care and the number of admissions per day.”
Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE, said today that positive cases were up 32 per cent on the previous week.
He voiced concern about increased hospitalisations, with 110 people hospitalised between September 8th to 21st and 15 people admitted to intensive care during this period.
Of these hospitalised cases of Covid-19, over half or 52 percent were under the age of 65. Just 53 cases of the 110 hospital admissions were aged 65 or over, while 13 were under the age of 35.
Mr Reid also said this week had seen a continued increase in higher rates of the disease among the sector of the population aged 65 and above.
He also noted “significant growth” in the number of close contacts per confirmed case of the virus, up from a previous average of two to a current average of six.
Numbers need to be understood in that relative basis.
Mr Reid compared the current number of hospitalisations to four weeks ago, when there were just 20 confirmed cases of the virus in Irish hospitals and eight people in intensive care.
He said it was the “growing trend week-on-week” that was a cause for concern, along with the differing context between hospitalisations earlier in the pandemic.
Mr Reid said the current number of hospitalisations was lower than during the peak of the pandemic, which saw 800 hospitalised cases, however, that peak was seen at a time of national lockdown when no other non-urgent healthcare services were being provided.
He said current capacity was much reduced compared to that time, as the HSE was currently providing full services and society was open: “Numbers need to be understood in that relative basis.”
He noted a small number of positive cases could have a significant impact in hospitals, citing the example of Beaumont Hospital in Dublin which has had to close three wards due to the need to isolate Covid-19 patients.
Health officials will meet today amid growing concerns over the rise in Covid-19 cases in a number of counties.
NPHET is particularly concerned about Louth, Waterford and Donegal - where a third of recent cases are among 15 to 24 year olds.
30 of yesterday's 234 cases were in Donegal, while a further two deaths were also recorded nationally.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said we “can’t have everything that we had eight months ago.”
“Go to your football match but then don’t go to the pub, or go to the pub but don’t go to the football match,” he said.
“Bring your children to the playground, but don’t bring your children to your neighbour’s house down the road. These are choices we all have to make.
“We can’t have everything that we had eight months ago. It’s not the time for house parties, it’s not the time for big communion celebrations, it’s not the time for big family gatherings.”