Two-thirds of intensive care patients have Covid, HSE chief says

ireland
Coronavirus – Sun May 24, 2020, © PA Media
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Two-thirds of all patients in intensive care are being treated for Covid-19, the head of the HSE has said.

In a tweet posted on Friday morning, Paul Reid said the health service had never seen such a number of people being treated “for the same illness”.

Some 211 Covid patients (66 per cent) are in intensive care units, Mr Reid said.

He also said there are 300 patients outside of intensive care receiving respiratory support.

“We're battling hard to sustain safe levels of care but it's getting harder,” Mr Reid said.

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This comes as the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) warned on Thursday that the number of daily cases of coronavirus is 10 times higher than at the start of December.

Nphet said there will be “a large number” of deaths over the coming weeks.

“The number of deaths confirmed per day over the last seven days, 44, is the highest we have seen at any point during the pandemic,” said Philip Nolan, head of the Government's Covid modelling unit.

The infection rate, however, has fallen sharply from a pandemic high registered earlier in January. There were an average of 2,430 new cases over the past five days, down from a five-day average of 4,473 reported a week ago.

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Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said clear progress was being made but “we still have a very large burden of disease”.

“It is evident that the population is working as one to reduce contacts and interrupt further transmission of the disease,” he said. “However, we are witnessing the effects of high levels of community transmission through our hospital and ICU admissions and reported deaths.”

A further 51 deaths of Covid-19 patients were reported by the team at its daily media briefing, 49 of which occurred in January.

Nphet also reported 2,608 further cases of the disease, bringing to 181,922 the total recorded to date.

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