#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 11°C Sunday 20 September 2020
Advertisement

HSE planning for peak Covid-19 outbreak to happen in two weeks time based on current modelling

The chief operations officer said they are making preparations for the peak to arrive between the 10 and 14 April.

Chief Operations Officer Anne O'Connor.
Chief Operations Officer Anne O'Connor.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE HSE IS predicting that the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland will occur in two weeks time, between the 10 and 14 of April, according to the chief operations officer.

However, that peak is only a prediction based on current data and the HSE is calling on members of the public to strictly adhere to the measures outlined by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The COO Anne O’Connor was speaking from Citywest Hotel and Conference centre this morning where a new isolation and step-down centre will come into operation this week. 

“I don’t think that any of us can say exactly when the peak is going to be,” she said. “We are certainly working towards a peak in mid-April, so certainly towards the next two to three weeks and that is what we are planning for but clearly we don’t know. 

“We do have to work on some basis when it comes to planning and we are planning for a peak between the 1o and 14 April, around that time.”

O’Connor noted that the HSE is feeding its information to the NPHET and that team is doing a more detailed modelling of the broader national picture. 

This aspect of our planning is around the operational resourcing of this, so we need to know how many beds we might need [and] different facilities we might have to operate. 

“But the other thing, just to reiterate, is that a peak will come and go whenever but we will continue to be very busy so it’s not like all of this will go away after the peak.

“We will continue to have a high number of people, an exceptionally large number of people, availing of our services once that peak has passed.”

She said if the measures introduced by the Government lead to a flattening of the curve, it also means the period of the peak outbreak will also be prolonged and will last for a number of days once it is reached, but that is the aim to avoid the HSE becoming overwhelmed all at once. 

At present, there are 88 people in intensive care in hospitals across the country in due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. 

Capacity

O’Connor was joined by HSE’s CEO Paul Reid this morning to discuss details of the new isolation centre in Dublin, which will hold up to 750 people for self isolation in the case they cannot self-isolate at their own home. 

It will also see a further 450 step-down or overflow beds which will be used to accommodate Covid-19 patients in the event that all beds in HSE hospitals have been filled. The centre will serve the Dublin and surrounding regions, and additional centres are expected to be established in Cork, Limerick and Galway shortly. 

It is part of a wider plan to broaden capacity available for testing and treating patients of Covid-19. 

There are currently 15,000 people waiting to be tested for Covid-19 at present, with around 10,000 people already scheduled for testing and the remaining 5,000 waiting for an appointment. 

The HSE is currently testing around 5,000 people per day at 46 centres across the country, and said it plans to increase the number of centres over the coming days. 

PPE

The Government has been facing challenges in locating personal protective equipment for healthcare staff working in hospitals where Covid-19 patents are being treated. 

However, it secured supplies from China last week and 10 flights carrying the hundreds of thousands of masks, gowns and gloves between now and Wednesday. Further deliveries will continue to be made in the days following that. 

The first flight from China is due to arrive this afternoon with a further nine flights arriving in Ireland from China by Wednesday.

CEO Paul Reid said: “We are competing with every country around the world for this personal protective equipment… our total spend of €30 million since January has been to secure 1.2 million masks, 400,000 eye protectors, 400,000 gowns, and 6.3 million gloves.”

“I fully acknowledge, and we have been as concerned as our staff, that supply has been running very tight particularly throughout this week. We have been focusing on redistributing and reallocating from across the system to hospitals in particular and others.

“On the first ten flights from China, there’ll be a further 1.6 million masks, 400,000 eye protections, 265,000 gowns and 254,000 gloves.”

The contents of the first batch will begin to be distributed across 2,000 locations around the country from late tonight. 

Reid said the HSE has trained over 1,400 people on contact tracing and ready to be mobilised and will bring that number to 4,000 people over the coming weeks. 

Read next:

COMMENTS (84)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel