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Number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in ICU has fallen below 100

The number of people in ICU is a figure Harris said will watched very carefully over the coming weeks.

Health Minister Simon Harris at the Department of Health this afternoon.
Health Minister Simon Harris at the Department of Health this afternoon.

THE NUMBER OF confirmed cases of Covid-19 in ICU has fallen to below 100 for the first time since the end of March.

While Health Minister Simon Harris welcomed the latest figure of 99, he said these were still people who were very sick and whose families were very worried.

The peak of patients requiring ICU care occurred on 4 April, with 160 people in intensive care beds.

The number of people in ICU is a figure Harris said health authorities will watch very carefully over the coming weeks.

When asked what number admissions would have to reach for each phase of the roadmap plan released yesterday to kick in, Harris said he could not give a specific number that will guarantee that the country can move from one phase to the next.

“As much as the number is important, it’s also the trend of the trajectory.

He said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will be looking for a certain figure to be sustained over a period of time of perhaps a week or two weeks.

Harris listed the decision-making framework from the government plan, stating the following will feed into the lifting of restrictions and the phases: 

  • The latest data regarding the progression of the disease 
  • The capacity and resilience of the health service in terms of hospital and ICU occupancy 
  • The capacity of the programme of sampling, testing and contact tracing
  • The ability to shield and care for at risk groups
  • An assessment of the risk of secondary morbidity and mortality as a consequence of the restrictions

He said the increase in the number of the confirmed cases, the number of clusters and also testing will all be monitored.

Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said there was no specific target of what figure they want to reach, stating that even 50 people in ICU due to Covid-19 is a quarter of the normal ICU capacity. He said the rate of change will be monitored.

Earlier in the week, the Taoiseach said the number of patients in ICU with Covid-19 was not low enough to ease restrictions on 5 May.

The minister confirmed today that 169,377 tests for Covid-19 had been completed. 

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