Barely one-third of Covid-19 cases in hospital at the start of this month were there because of the virus, the lowest proportion recorded in the pandemic.
As of August 2nd, 37 per cent of hospitalised cases were there for Covid-19, with the remaining 63 per cent categorised as asymptomatic but potentially infectious, according to the latest update from interim chief medical officer Prof Breda Smyth.
Of those cases in hospital, 37 per cent had received at least one booster vaccine, 28 per cent had completed a primary vaccine course and 35 per cent had not completed a primary vaccine course.
In ICU, the proportion of cases for whom Covid-19 was the primary reason for admission was 47 per cent on August 5th, down from 56 per cent a week earlier.
Some 19 per cent of ICU cases were unvaccinated, while 67 per cent of vaccinated patients had received one booster and none had received more than one.
Hospital-acquired infection continues to be a significant issue, according to Prof Smyth, with 113 hospital-acquired Covid-19 infections reported in the week to July 24th, down from 312 a fortnight earlier.
One hundred Covid-19 deaths were reported in July, compared to 100 in June and 122 in May.
All the main indicators for Covid-19 continue to show the current wave of the pandemic abating.
There was a 29 per cent drop in the number of confirmed cases in the week to August 3rd, and a 25 per cent drop in positive antigen tests notified. Fourteen-day incidence dropped 47 per cent from the previous week.
However, wastewater surveillance around the country continues to show an increasing trend, according to the report.
The BA.4 and BA.5 forms of the Omicron variant continue to account for the vast number of cases — an estimated 99.5 per cent in late July, the report states.
A total of 24 outbreaks were reported in the last week of July, the largest involving 21 cases.
Prof Smyth said the burden imposed by Covid-19 on hospitals remains significant but has reduced, as has the daily average number of hospitalisations and ICU admissions.
There is no indication for any change in the current public health advice, she said, but this needs to be communicated so that individuals can “mitigate” against Covid-19 and other respiratory infections.
“It is particularly important that eligible groups for primary and booster doses (both first and second) continue to be encouraged to avail of vaccination in order to confer optimal protection against the risk of severe disease as well as against other potential long-term consequences of infection.”
According to the Department of Health, there were 307 patients with Covid-19 in hospital on Wednesday, down from 325 the day before. This included 17 ICU patients, up one.
The number of hospitalised cases this week is at its lowest level since last June, while the number of ICU cases is at its lowest since July 2021.