Covid: 6,307 new cases as health service braces for 'surreal' festive period

Covid: 6,307 New Cases As Health Service Braces For 'Surreal' Festive Period
HSE chief executive Paul Reid had said the health system is already under pressure due to the impact of the Omicron variant and high transmission of the virus. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

Dominic McGrath, PA

Updated: 5.40pm

The health service is already under significant pressure and is facing an uncertain few weeks, the HSE chief executive has warned.


The arrival of the Omicron variant will pose a “significant challenge” to an already stretched health system, Paul Reid told a briefing on Wednesday, adding that healthcare staff are “apprehensive, anxious and understandably, probably fearful of what they will head into again in the January period”.

Mr Reid offered a stark warning ahead of what he called another “surreal” festive period, shortly before the Department of Health confirmed 6,307 new cases of the virus on Wednesday afternoon.

As of 8am this morning, there were 429 people in hospital with the virus, 100 of whom were in ICU.

“We are actually heading into January next year with a much higher level of demand on our resources, on our healthcare, across the board.”


He said 431 people are currently in hospital with the virus, and 102 people in intensive care – nearly five times the number of people in intensive care this time last year.

Last January, he said, was a “very dark period” for all healthcare staff as Covid-19 cases rocketed and hospitals came under severe pressure.

With days to go until Christmas, and tough new restrictions already in place, Mr Reid appealed to people to follow the public health advice.


According to the latest figures, 53 per cent of people in hospital with Covid-19 are not fully vaccinated.

Mr Reid also said that 54 per cent of those in intensive had not been vaccinated.

While he assured people that the health service would be there if needed it in the weeks ahead, he stressed that the vast demands on workers and resources could not be ignored.


He also paid tribute to HSE staff for their work, stating: “No words can express the thanks we have for them,” before also thanking the public following Covid-19 restrictions.

“If you do want to give many people a really nice gift, that is not just for Christmas, please go and get your booster at the earliest opportunity you can.”

Earlier, the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, warned Covid cases are surging among people aged 16-34.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said the State will see a significant rise in cases as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country.

He also indicated that if cases do surge, the testing system will come under strain.

Like previous waves, the virus is spreading first among young people, Dr Holohan said.

Almost one million over-40s yet to come forward fo...
Read More

“It is most dramatically increasing in those age groups at this point in time,” he added. “That is consistent with what we’re seeing in other European countries.”

He stressed he is not “pointing the finger” at young people, but said it is a fact of the pandemic.

Dr Holohan also urged anyone not yet vaccinated, or those waiting to get a booster jab, to come forward.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by