Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 24 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Leah Farrell/ HSE CEO Paul Reid (file photo)
# Covid-19
Paul Reid says Ireland is 'coming out of very challenging period' but is 'not out of the woods yet'
The HSE CEO is due to tell the Oireachtas Health Committee that all major indicators of Covid-19 are now trending downwards.

THE CEO OF the HSE is due to tell the Oireachtas Health Committee that all major indicators of Covid-19 are now trending downwards, but Ireland is “not out of the woods yet”.

In his opening statement, Paul Reid will tell the committee: “We are coming out of a very challenging period, although we are not out of the woods yet.

“While we know it has been extremely difficult for everyone, we are asking the public to stick with us over the coming weeks and continue to follow the public health guidance to help suppress the spread of the virus.

“The virus and its impacts on society remain largely unpredictable, and as such the need for proactive monitoring and agile planning will always be a feature of our response.”

Reid will also state that although all major indicators of the virus are now trending downwards, health officials “remain alert to the impact of new variants of Covid 19″.

A further 437 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said yesterday evening.

In a statement, NPHET also confirmed there were no new deaths of people with Covid-19.

The death toll from Covid-19 in Ireland is now 4,422, and the total number of confirmed cases of the virus is 223,651.

The 14-day incidence rate is now 172.3 per 100,000, down from almost 1,500 in mid-January.

Reid is due to tell the committee that healthcare staff are still managing 358 outbreaks in acute hospitals and long-term residential care settings, but the number of new outbreaks is falling.

As of yesterday, 419 people with Covid-19 were in Irish hospitals, including 103 people in ICU.

Reid is expected to note that, while the figures are reducing, “these numbers are still very high in the context of our experience with this disease and in comparison to other health conditions”.

He will state that health services which were paused due to the pandemic will restart gradually but HSE staff are “still in the midst of responding to the unprecedented Covid-19 surge”.


Reid will also give the committee an update on Ireland’s vaccination programme.

As of 5 March, 513,322 doses of Covid-19 vaccine were administered in Ireland: 363,601 first doses and 149,721 second doses.

Reid is expected to note that the HSE will continue to “build the appropriate capacity to administer 250,000 vaccines per week, subject to supply”.

Thirty-seven HSE vaccination centres have been agreed to date and the required infrastructure is being finalised. To date, over 2,000 recruitment applications have been received and an additional 9,702 healthcare professionals have completed Covid-19 vaccination training.

Speaking at yesterday’s NPHET briefing, Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said people’s hope that things are getting better is “justified in the context of the continued improvement in the key indicators of the disease and with the ongoing rollout of the vaccination programme over the coming weeks”.

“However, it is vital that this hope does not give way to complacency; across Europe countries are seeing a deteriorating picture and our own disease incidence remains high – we must do all we can to continue to suppress this virus and to ensure that as many people as possible get to benefit from vaccination over the coming months,” Glynn added.

Speaking before the meeting, committee chairperson Seán Crowe noted that Reid’s appearance “coincides with confirmation that vaccination of people with serious illnesses is due to commence this week”.

“But there are many questions to be answered in connection with this stage of the programme. Who exactly will qualify for vaccination under this part of the rollout, what criteria is being used to identify those most at risk, and how will people who qualify be contacted are among the questions to be answered,” Crowe said.

Reid is due to appear before the committee at 9.45am today, alongside Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer; Niamh O’Beirne, National Lead for Test and Trace; Dr Lorraine Doherty, National Clinical Lead for Health Protection; and Damien McCallion, National Lead for Covid-19 Vaccination.

The meeting can be watched here.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel