Flu deaths climb to 25 but season has ‘probably peaked’

Over the past week there were 300 hospital admissions for flu, bringing the total to 1,066

The number of deaths from flu this winter climbed to 25 over the past week, but the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said the season has "probably peaked".

Dr Kevin Kelleher, the HSE's assistant national director for public and child health, said in a briefing for reporters on Thursday that there were 25 deaths in the season to date, which is up from 21 as of the week before last.

He also said there had been 65 admissions to intensive care units over the week, as well as 41 respiratory disease outbreaks, of which 17 were confirmed to be flu. He said this had been “much less” than last year.

Over the past week there were 300 hospital admissions, which brings the total to 1,066 for the season. Hospital admissions were mostly in the under-five and over-65 age categories.


Separately, interim national director for national services Joe Ryan provided an update on the HSE's emergency care performance and winter plan.

He said hospital attendances in the past week “remained high”, up 4.1 per cent compared to the same week last year.

The number of admissions from emergency departments was up 3.4 per cent. “There are still very high levels of respiratory attendances in our hospitals,” he said.

Conversion rates, which is when attendees are admitted to hospital, were down 0.2 per cent to26.7 per cent for the general population, and down 1 per cent higher for the over-75s to 57.5 per cent.

Patient experience time, which is how long patients spend in the emergency department, was improved on last year. Some 96.3 per cent of patients passed through within 24 hours, while 56 per cent of the over-75s passed through within nine hours.

In terms of the trolley count, there were 227 people on trolleys at 8am on Thursday. This figure is down 41.3 per cent on the same day last year and down 33.2 per cent on the same day last week.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter