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1,792 Covid-19 patients in hospital as figure continues to surpass double previous peak

The number of people in hospital is now more than twice that of the previous pandemic peak.

graph thursday Latest hospital figures in Ireland. Source: Covid-19 Data Hub

THERE ARE NOW 1,792 people with Covid-19 in hospital and 169 in ICU across the country. 

Earlier figures on the Covid-19 Data Hub showed 1,838 people in hospital, but the figure has since reduced on the site.

151 people have been admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours and 123 people have been discharged during this time. 

The hospitalisation figure last night doubled the previous pandemic peak of 881 people in hospital in mid-April last year. 

There are 169 people being treated in ICU, latest figures from today show. 14 people were admitted in a recent 24-hour period and 12 people discharged.

Yesterday, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO) said the healthcare system is overloaded and is calling for “urgent government intervention”.

It called for the level of PPE in healthcare settings to be upgraded to FFP2 masks, which filter at least 94% of airborne particles. 

HSE CEO Paul Reid said on Twitter last night that frontline clinical and nursing teams told him about the “increasing strain” they are under, but stressed that “nobody should feel guilty” about getting Covid-19. 

Dr Alan Gaffney, vice president of the Intensive Care Society and consultant at Beaumont Hospital, said the issues experienced by ICU workers are different in this wave of the pandemic.

Issues from March with accessing equipment and PPE “aren’t the problems now”, he said on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“Staffing becomes our biggest problem,” he said, outlining that a number of ICU staff are out of work due to having Covid-19 or being a close contact of a confirmed case.

Anne O’Connor from the HSE said yesterday that more than 7,000 HSE staff are currently absent across hospitals, nursing homes, home support services and community services. 

Around 4,000 of these staff are absent from acute hospitals. 

The HSE said it is asking close contacts who are asymptomatic and who have had a negative test result to return to work due to pressure on the healthcare system.

The INMO is also calling for an end to this policy.

Gaffney said that “between waves there was a lot of work put in” to ensure nurses were trained to be redeployed into ICU if necessary during the pandemic. 

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He said nurses are “exhausted, but they’ve shown absolutely unbelievable”.

Vaccines and travel

In terms of vaccines, the government plans to vaccinate almost four million people by the end of September. 77,303 people – 1.58% of the total population - have received their first dose of the vaccine so far. 

This figure represents 69,378 frontline healthcare workers and 7,925 residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

Over the course of this week, the HSE plans to administer 25,060 vaccinations at 186 long-term care facilities, along with 14,040 vaccinations to frontline healthcare workers. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the government expects the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to be approved by the European Medicines Agency on 29 January. 

This development would be “significant” in terms of Ireland’s vaccination numbers, said Varadkar, stating that it would pave the way for 100,000 weekly vaccinations here in February.

The European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today released its latest traffic light map for travel. 

Almost all of Europe, including Ireland, is marked as red which means the countries have a 14-day notification rate of at least 50 cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher. 

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