Total of 2,029 cases of Covid-19 confirmed as HSE warns procedures will be cancelled if numbers rise

Elective procedures to be cancelled if rise in Covid-19 numbers continues, says Reid

HSE chief executive Paul Reid speaking to the media at Dr Steevens Hospital on Thursday.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid speaking to the media at Dr Steevens Hospital on Thursday.

 

A further 2,029 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Thursday evening.

As of 8am on Wednesday, 448 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of whom 88 are in ICU, while the five-day moving average now stands at 1,906.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said there had been a significant increase in transmission over the course of the last fortnight.

“We currently have in excess of 500 cases per 100,000 of the population and disease incidence is rising in all age groups and in every part of the country.”

Earlier, HSE chief executive Paul Reid warned non-urgent procedures will have to be cancelled across the hospital system if Covid-19 numbers rise to the levels predicted by public health officials.

The National Public Health Emergency Team models forecast 800-1,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital by late November, including 150-200 in intensive care.

Mr Reid said if the system “gets near those numbers” elective care will be affected. Already, hospitals in Cork, Limerick and Galway have been forced to be cancel some elective work due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Last January, most non-urgent care had to cease due to the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals. Mr Reid said no-one wants to go back to this situation, where services collapsed.

As a society “we’re not where we’d like to be” and people needed to “reboot” their basic levels of protection due to the threat posed by the virus, he told a media briefing on Thursday.

The hospital system is facing increasing levels of risk, with many more Covid-19 patients seen every day, he said.

Test positivity was rising to concerning levels, he said, particularly in specific pockets across the country. In Kerry, 19 per cent of tests are positive, while in Waterford, the figure is 17-18 per cent.

The age profile of those testing positive has shifted significantly to older groups, leading to more people being hospitalised and admitted to ICU, Mr Reid said.

Incidence is rising across all age groups, with the biggest rises among older people - up 35 per cent in 65-74-year-olds and 33 per cent in 75-84-year-olds.

There were 448 Covid-19 patients in hospital on Thursday morning, including 88 in ICU - up 27 per cent in a week.

Mr Reid said a “disproportionate” number of patients in hospital and ICU were unvaccinated.

Some 65 per cent of hospitalised Covid-19 patients last week were fully vaccinated, and 27 per cent were not vaccinated, the briefing heard.

In ICU, 41 per cent of patients were fully vaccinated, 52 per cent were not vaccinated, and 5 per cent were partially vaccinated.

Twelve pregnant women have been admitted to ICU since June, of whom 11 were not vaccinated and one had received a single dose.

Paediatric hospitals are under “immense pressure” due to a combination of RSV respiratory virus and Norovirus, HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor said.

Hospitals in the south and west are seeing the highest level of presentation and ambulance services are subject to delays.

Waiting lists are “huge, but going in the right direction” with small decreases seen in recent weeks, she said.

To relieve pressure on the public system, the HSE has been contracting 1,100 beds days a week from the private sector.

A total of 1,823 staff are out of work at present due to Covid infection or being a close contact.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, a total of 1,051 new positive Covid cases were reported on Thursday afternoon, along with four deaths in the previous 24 hours.