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Dublin: 22°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

First patients arrive at Citywest self-isolation centre as Harris warns of 'very significant pressure' on hospitals

Similar centres will be set up around the country.

Beds at the centre in Citywest in Dublin.
Beds at the centre in Citywest in Dublin.
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE SELF-ISOLATION and step-down facility at Citywest Hotel and convention centre in Dublin received its first patients today.

The centre was set up to ease pressure on hospitals in Dublin and surrounding areas as the number of people expected to test positive for Covid-19 increases in the coming weeks.

The Citywest centre will serve two functions for the HSE – a self-isolation facility and a step-down facility – and will be the first in a number of facilities set up throughout the country.

The step-down care facility in the convention centre will provide 450 beds allocated to people who have tested positive for Covid-19. There are a further 1,000 beds in the hotel for people who need to self-isolate but can’t do so at home.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris visited the centre earlier today.

Varadkar said the facility will be used by “different sorts of patients, some who are coming from home and need to self-isolate”.

“Others who have been to hospital but maybe aren’t well enough to go home just yet, but by coming here they can free up hospital beds for somebody who is sicker.”

34 NO FEE Taoiseach Citywest COVID-19 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Daiva Coghlan, a key worker with CRC, in one of the clinic rooms in the Citywest Hotel in Dublin today. Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Varadkar said the government and HSE plan “to do something similar in about eight other sites across the country”.

“So in total, being able to add over 2,000, nearly 3,000 beds, to our health service capacity. That’s in addition to the 2,000 that we managed to secure from the private hospitals,” the Taoiseach said.

He said there are empty beds in Irish hospitals at the moment, but added “over the next week or two, as the number of cases increases, the number of hospitalisations will increase as well”.

“Everyone is doing everything they possibly can to make sure we’re prepared for that.”

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Harris said the capacity of the Irish health service has “effectively grow by about 5,000 beds” but that there will be “very significant pressure” on hospitals in the coming weeks. 

Our message to the Irish people is very simple. We don’t want these facilities to be full. We want you to stay well, to save lives. And the actions that you take in your own home with your family, with your community, in the coming days and weeks, will largely determine how successful we are as a country, in making sure that all of this capacity doesn’t fill up at one time.

Harris said TDs and people all over the country “rightly” applauded our nurses and our doctors and our frontline staff last week.

He said the best way people can show their appreciation for people on the frontline “is by following very rigidly the public health advice, staying at home in all but the most exceptional circumstances, supporting older people in the community so that they can cocoon” and “washing your hands within your home, coughing properly, not touching your face”.

‘Very significant pressure on hospitals’

Harris thanked the Irish people for their “tremendous” support to date, urging them to “stick it out” in order the help flatten the curve of the virus.

“The first people who arrive here today, this afternoon, will have been referred from hospitals and are no longer in need of hospital care but are in need of isolation.

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“All across the country, you will have a number of these centres in the major urban centres, in Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Waterford. They will have a further 1,200 bed capacity,” Harris stated.

He added that the primary goal of these centres is to keep people out of the hospital system.

“We’re starting in a better place now because we have about 2,200 free beds now all across hospitals across the country along with the deal that has been negotiated with the private hospital groups which are very supportive, another 2,000 beds and 600 day-care beds.

“So our capacity overall is quite strong, but we do know over the coming weeks our hospital system will be under very significant pressure,” he said.

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Órla Ryan

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