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'We're well in the surge now for critical care': 202 people with Covid-19 are in ICU

There are a total of 1,954 people with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, according to the latest data.

A file photo of an oxygen tank in a hospital.
A file photo of an oxygen tank in a hospital.
Image: Shutterstock/Jamesboy Nuchaikong

Updated Jan 19th 2021, 3:20 PM

THERE ARE NOW 1,954 people with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, according to the latest data from the Covid-19 Data Hub.

There have been 115 admissions and 153 discharges in the past 24 hours.

Of that number there are now 202 people in ICU, with 16 people admitted in the past 24 hours and 10 people discharged.

HSE chief Paul Reid said: “We’re well in surge now for critical care. 200 Covid-19 patients in ICU & a further 200 receiving adv. respiratory support and good care outside ICU. Strong on oxygen and ventilator stock. Situation remains concerning.” 

Yesterday, there were 2,023 people with Covid-19 in hospital, with over 400 of them receiving high-grade ventilation. The previous day, there were 1,923 people with Covid-19 in hospital.

The Beacon signs up

The latest figures come as the Beacon Hospital signed up to a ‘safety net’ deal that allows the HSE to use private beds while coping with capacity pressure during Covid-19 surges.

Under the deal, the HSE can use up to 30% of the private hospitals’ capacity.

Last week, the HSE said hospitals had started moving into their intensive care surge capacity as the number of Covid-19 patients requiring advanced care increased.

The system can surge to 350 patients in ICU, providing the same level of care as traditional intensive care settings, but it is now quickly approaching that number as the situation is likely to further deteriorate over the course of this week.

Here’s a closer look at our hospitals’ surge capacity.

Student nurses

Student nurses and midwives have reiterated their calls for “fair remuneration”, as a report on their situation comes before Cabinet today.

The Collins Report is expected to recommend that student nurses receive a pandemic grant of €100 a week during their unpaid placements in hospitals.

Nurses’ union the INMO has said previously that this €100 proposal “does not reflect Covid risks they face”. It has also said that the Covid threat they face now during the third wave is more severe than in December, when testimonies for the report were taken.

‘Leftover’ vaccines

Questions have arisen around the protocol of what to do with leftover Covid-19 vaccine.

It emerged yesterday that two family members of staff at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin received Covid-19 vaccines, which it says would have been wasted otherwise.

In a statement, the Rotunda Hospital said it received 93 vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on 6 January. Each vial contains six doses, and the statement said “every one of these six doses were administered to staff working at the Rotunda”.

However, excess doses of the vaccine left in the vials were subsequently administered to the community.

It follows a similar controversy at the Coombe Hospital, where it emerged that 16 people, including family members of hospital staff, received leftover Covid-19 vaccines.

94,000 vaccinated

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that 94,000 vaccine doses have been administered, with 71,000 going to frontline healthcare workers and 23,000 to residents of longterm care facilities.

GPs and pharmacists are to be paid almost €91 million to vaccinate 1.5 million people under a plan to be considered by the Cabinet.

Pharmacists and GPs will be paid €25 for administering each dose of the vaccine and additional single €10 processing fee would be paid per patient.

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For a two-dose vaccine, the total that would be paid would be €60. 

Epidemiological situation

There were a further 2,121 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland reported yesterday, with eight further deaths. All eight deaths occurred in January in people between the ages of 49 an 93.

The five-day average of cases in Ireland is 3,149 per day. The median age of cases in the past 14 days is 39, and the mean age is 41.

The positive rate is 6.4% overall, and 13.5% in the last seven days.

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