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Decision expected this week on Covid-19 restrictions for Louth, Cork, Wicklow and Galway

Cases have been rising in Louth, Cork, Wicklow and Galway.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly.
Image: Julien Behal Photography/RollingNews.ie

A DECISION WILL be made this week on whether to increase Covid-19 restrictions in Louth, Cork, Wicklow and Galway amid a rising number of cases in the four counties. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet on Thursday, with officials set to discuss the situation facing the counties and whether some or all of them should move from Level 2 to Level 3. 

Currently, both Dublin and Donegal are at Level 3 – meaning people in the two counties currently face more severe restrictions following an alarming rise in coronavirus cases. 

Yesterday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the four counties were being watched closely by the government but said that there were currently no plans to bring NPHET’s next scheduled meeting forward from Thursday.

Sunday saw 430 new cases of the virus confirmed – the largest daily figure since late April. 

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, called on people to reduce the number of people they meet. 

“We have absolutely no room for complacency. If every person, family, workplace and organisation does not play their part the situation will continue to deteriorate,” Glynn said. 

“For people who live in Donegal and Dublin remember Government advice is to work from home unless it is essential to attend in person. For people living in these and all other counties, assume that Covid-19 is circulating in your community and act accordingly.”

Concerns are returning about whether Ireland’s health system can cope with an increase in hospitalisations from Covid-19 as officials try to avoid the situation faced during the lockdown in March, when the vast majority of day-to-day services were suspended.

Dr Catherine Motherway, a specialist in intensive care at University Hospital Limerick, told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland that she didn’t know for sure how many ICU or critical care beds are available. 

“It’s a concern to us,” she said. She said that there were questions for the HSE about what funding was currently available for critical care. 

She said that it takes a long “lead in” time to open a critical care bed.

“You need a significant number of specialised nursing staff, which are difficult to recruit.  They’re a scarce commodity,” she said. 

“We would like to know how many beds are funded, so we can recruit and try and retain the staff for it.”

“We also need really significant infrastructure improvement in a number of hospitals around the country.”

She said that deferring on scheduled treatment for patients could have a major increase in “poor outcomes” for many.

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“Will we have to defer scheduled care? I don’t know,” she said. 

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