The number of Covid-19 patients in Irish hospitals has dropped below 1,000 for the first time since early January.
There were 990 confirmed Covid patients in hospital at 8pm on Wednesday, more than 50 per cent fewer than the peak on January 18th, according to the latest data from the HSE.
Of those, 167 were in intensive care units, 24 per cent fewer than the peak.
On Thursday morning the HSE chief executive Paul Reid said: “Better news again this morning as we have further reduced numbers of Covid19 patients in hospital at 984 with 167 in ICU.
“However, there’s nothing normal about these levels and we have a long way to go yet. But at least it feels like we have the wind behind us now.”
He pressed the importance of the numbers of people in hospital with the virus continuing to reduce.
“We have to get those numbers down, we have to relieve those pressures, not just in the short-term but for a sustained period, and into the long term we don’t want that situation happening again in our hospitals,” he said.
Wednesday saw a further 54 additional deaths with Covid-19 in Ireland and another 1,006 confirmed cases of the virus confirmed.
The national 14-day incidence rate for Covid-19 now stands at 312 cases per 100,000 people.
Up to February 7th, some 240,487 doses of coronavirus vaccines had been administered, comprising 153,654 first doses and 86,833 second doses.