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Number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients falls further as vaccines take effect

A total of 371 people were in hospital with the virus as of 8pm last night.

Screenshot 2021-03-10 at 07.17.37 - Display 2 Source: HSE

THE NUMBER OF people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Ireland has fallen further since yesterday to 371, the lowest number of hospitalised cases in 2021. 

A total of 371 people were in hospital with the virus as of 8pm last night -  a reduction of 21 patients on what was reported yesterday morning. 

There are currently 93 people in ICU. 

It comes as the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said that all key indicators of the disease continue to improve but amid continued setbacks in Ireland’s vaccine rollout. 

Public health officials last night confirmed a further 311 new cases of Covid-19 and 30 additional deaths in Ireland.

Vaccination 

Health officials and Government have said disease trends will be watched closely ahead of any easing of restrictions in April and that the country is beginning to see the positive effect of vaccination in vulnerable cohorts. 

HSE CEO Paul Reid said this morning that Ireland is seeing “great signs of impact” from vaccination with serial testing in nursing homes yielding a positivity rate of just 0.2%. 

However, Ireland is set to miss its Q1 target of 1.2 million doses due to supply shortfalls amid calls to approach other countries to negotiate vaccine deals. 

The operating plan for administering vaccines in Ireland has already changed 15-17 times due to constraints with supply and changes to sequencing and prioritisation, the HSE CEO said.

Reid told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health yesterday that the health service’s experience with vaccine supply in the first three months of this year has been characterised by “high levels of frustration”.  

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the vaccination programme “hasn’t all been flawless”, but that it is “having an amazing effect” within certain groups. 

He said there has been a 95% reduction in infections among hospital staff and latest positivity rates for nursing home serial testing are at 0.2%. 

“95% of the vaccines that are coming into the country are being administered to the priority groups within seven days,” Donnelly said. 

“It’s not all perfect it hasn’t all been flawless, but I think great credit goes to thousands of women and men right across Ireland, who are making that possible.”

Reid said earlier today that the supply of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines had proven “unstable” to date and that previous targets of as many as 1.7 million vaccine doses supplied by the end of March were now not possible. Another target of 1.24 million vaccine doses may also not now be reached.

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“Realistically we’re looking at 1.1 million [vaccine doses at the end of the month], going into 1.2 million in the first week of April,” he said.

Hotel quarantine 

Meanwhile, hotels used for mandatory quarantine will be indemnified by the State against any Covid-related legal action. 

Cabinet has agreed that hotels cannot face any legal action if someone on the facility catches the virus. 

While the State will handle all Covid-related legal expenditure, hotels will have to use their own insurance for incidents such as personal injury claims. 

Nurses, doctors and people that give vaccines are also indemnified meaning no one can sue them personally if they give the vaccine incorrectly.

On Sunday, President Michael D Higgins signed into law the legislation to bring in mandatory quarantine in a designated facility for certain passengers entering the country. 

The Health (Amendment) Bill 2021 was brought forward to the Dáil by the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly last month. 

The final touches are still being made on the scheme which is expected to begin later this week. 

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