Coronavirus: ‘Recipe for disaster’, warn nurses as disease rips through hospitals

Patients on trolleys due to virus more like winter than summer, say Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation

Covid-19 is leading to an “unprecedented” spike in hospital admissions more akin to winter than the height of summer, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned.

As of Friday morning, there were 400 people on trolleys in the State’s hospitals. The worst affected hospitals are University Hospital Galway (UHG), Cork University Hospital (45) and University Hospital Limerick (45).

An INMO spokesperson said the current situation is a “recipe for disaster” with many nursing staff out as a result of the latest surge in cases. The organisation has called for all elective surgery to be rescheduled at Galway University Hospital due to a surge in virus-related admissions. Forty-eight patients are in the hospital with the disease at present.


‘Significant pressure’

INMO industrial relations officer Anne Burke said staff in the hospital are “under severe pressure” due to infections among themselves and the wider public.

“Many beds are currently closed in University Hospital Galway today because of the impact Covid is having on the operations of the hospital. Each department and ward is under significant pressure with nurses being redeployed at a significant rate,” she said.

“Hospital management needs to cancel all non-urgent elective procedures at the hospital. Safe patient care must be a priority. This level of overcrowding in Galway and indeed across the country in the middle of July is not normal and should not be treated as such. Hospital management and the HSE need to take short-, medium- and long-term action.”

The latest Covid-19 figures show there were 943 people in hospital on Friday morning with 126 admissions and 82 discharges in the last 24 hours. The number of people in intensive care with the disease is 35, a drop of six on the previous day.

Latest data

The number of cases per day is averaging 3,500 including confirmed PCR tests and registered positive antigen tests. The latest figures available, which are for Wednesday, show 1,207 PCR-confirmed cases and 2,501 antigen-positive cases.

In the week from July 3rd to 9th, 16,792 infections were detected using PCR tests, up from 12,789 the previous week. The total does not include infections confirmed using antigen tests.

According to the latest figure produced by the Health Protective Surveillance Centre (HPSC) there were 76,134 cases of the disease confirmed by PCR test from the start of the year to July 4th. Of those, 57,013 were the major sub-variants of the dominant Omicron strain accounting for almost three-quarters of all cases. Delta accounted for 11.5 per cent and the rest comprised earlier strains.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times