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Covid-19 patients have 'disproportionate' impact on health system as hospitalisations rise

30,000 teenagers aged 12 to 15 have received a first vaccine dose.

Paul Reid at HSE briefing
Paul Reid at HSE briefing
Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated Aug 15th 2021, 2:24 PM

PATIENTS WITH COVID-19 exert a “disproportionate” impact on hospitals, according to a health official.

HSE chief executive officer Paul Reid has said that rising numbers of Covid-19 patients are a present concern for the health service, particularly given the extra precautions required to treat them.

As of this morning, there are 248 people with Covid-19 in hospitals around the country, including 48 in ICU – a rise from 229 and 43 respectively the previous day.

In the last 24 hours, there were five admissions of Covid-19 patients to intensive care units and one discharge.

Speaking on Newstalk’s On The Record, Reid said that the “numbers of Covid patients in hospitals have a disproportionate impact on the hospital system”.

“Some might say 248 is not high – however, for all of those cases, we have to work through very strict and strong infection prevention controls to protect those patients and to protect others,” Reid said.

“We have to put people in isolation units and wards, so it has a really strong impact.”

Despite the rise in cases, the vaccine rollout has meant that hospitals are observing reduced levels of illness in those who are admitted and reduced levels of hospitalisations compared to previous waves, he said.

90,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 have registered for a vaccine out of a total 280,000, Reid said.

Around 30,000 have already received their first dose.

Overall, 6.3 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered in Ireland, with nearly 90% of adults at least partially vaccinated.

Yesterday, public health officials confirmed 2,047 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

It was the first time since January that the daily case load surpassed 2,000.

Reid said there is “concern at the moment as we start reach these cases of 2,000 per day, which we haven’t seen since January”.

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“In January, we were dealing with 2,020 people in hospital and 212 people in ICU, but the rise in cases in the last six weeks are quite significant,” Reid said.

“We’ve seen over a six-fold increase in cases over the last six weeks.”

He said it “generally takes about 10 days or so to see hospitalisations rising” after a surge in cases.

So we’re concerned moving towards the end of August and into September that we’ll see this trajectory continuing from those numbers, which thankfully go off a lower base, but still, 248 people are a lot of people who are very sick and need respiratory support and in some cases ventilation.”

“It’s still a very live threat to us and hospitalizations are increasing by about 4% per day, case levels are rising in all ages, so it’s a real alert to all of us,” he said.

“Vaccinations are working but we’re not bulletproof.”

Covid-19 cases among people who are fully vaccinated may have caused concern in recent days – however, suggestions that it means vaccines don’t work are incorrect.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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