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NPHET stresses pressure on health system as 208 deaths recorded in January

The youngest person to pass away with Covid-19 this month was 25-years-old.

Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn.
Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn.
Image: RollingNews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE warned that hospital admissions, ICU cases and deaths continue to rise with 208 people dying with Covid-19 in January alone. 

Data released this evening show that 23 deaths in January are linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 38 with outbreaks in nursing homes. 

The ages of those who have died ranges from 25 to 98. 

“Every death associated with Covid-19 is a tragedy,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan. 

“We must cut our social contacts in order to break the chains of transmission and protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease. Stay at home and save lives,” said Dr Holohan. 

A further 3,955 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed this evening with 28 further deaths. 

Despite a decreasing growth rate and a reduction in the number of close contacts this week, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said the current surge “is having a very significant impact on our health system.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said this evening it is likely that of the 208 deaths in January so far, one third will be linked to hospital outbreaks, one third will be linked to outbreaks in nursing homes with one third linked to community settings once validation is complete. 

There have been 154 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours and 128 discharges. 

There are – as of this morning – 1,789 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital and 169 people in Intensive Care Units.

The previous peak for hospitalisations was in mid-April when 881 people were in hospital. This week saw that figure more than to double to 1,838. 

More than 7,000 HSE staff are absent across hospitals, nursing homes, home support services and community services. This is due to either being infected with Covid-19 or being a close contact of a confirmed case.

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The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO) has said the healthcare system is overloaded and called 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 today hospital admissions are growing at a “concerning rate” and that the current situation is “quite grim”. 

Earlier today, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said ICU numbers would need to be below 50 before the economy could open up. Speaking on the Hard Shoulder on Newstalk,  Varadkar also explained why he thinks businesses will be closed until March. 

He said: “I don’t think we want to risk opening up again as quickly as we did in December. We did that when we were at 300 cases a day. In my view, any reopening that we do in the next three months will be very gradual. As well as that, we would anticipate restrictions will remain in place into the autumn.

“The number of cases in the community has to be very low, the ICUs relieved, and the third thing is the critical mass of people vaccinated. I don’t like saying it but I anticipate most businesses that are currently closed will be closed until the end of March.” 

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