Number of pregnant women with Covid requiring ICU falls dramatically

Two pregnant virus patients admitted to ICU since December, compared with 39 in fourth wave

The number of pregnant women with Covid-19 requiring admission to intensive care has fallen dramatically in the current wave of the pandemic.

The reduction reflects the milder impact of the Omicron variant compared with previous variants, and higher vaccination and booster levels among pregnant women.

There were two confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported among pregnant women in intensive care units (ICU) since the current wave started last December 19th, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Hospital Report

This compares with 39 pregnant women with Covid-19 who were admitted to ICU in the fourth wave between June and December last year, when the Delta variant was dominant. A further 23 pregnant women were in ICU during the third wave of the pandemic from November 2020 to June 2021.


Of the 205 people with Covid-19 admitted to ICU in the current wave, 74 died, 90 were discharged alive and the remainder were in hospital at the time the report was compiled, according to the update from the HPSC.

The youngest patient was 15 years old and the oldest was 97. Some 82 per cent had an underlying condition. The median length of stay for those who were discharged was six days though one patient remained in ICU for 61 days.

More than 90 per cent of new Covid-19 cases are the BA.2 subvariant, a separate HPSC report on variants appeared to show. The proportion of PCR tests that are positive for the S gene target – which is used to measure the prevalence of BA.2 cases – rose from 10 per cent at the end of January to more than 90 per cent in early March.

BA.2 and most Delta variants produce an S gene target positive result, while Omicron (BA.1) does not. As Delta is no longer circulating in Ireland, this screen is indicative of the number of cases infected with BA.2.

Since December 13th, 777 BA.2 cases have been identified through the more elaborate process of genomic sequencing. Over this period, 8,231 BA.1 cases were sequenced, along with 2,615 BA1.1 cases and four BA.3 cases.

Since the end of last year, 4.5 per cent of cases have been genomically sequenced.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times