Covid-19: Hospital numbers surpass 1,000 for first time since February

Up to 15,000 healthcare staff out sick with Covid or as close contacts

Numbers in hospital with Covid-19 has surpassed 1,000 for the first time in the current Omicron wave, HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said

Numbers in hospital with Covid-19 has surpassed 1,000 for the first time in the current Omicron wave, HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said

 

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has surpassed 1,000 for the first time in the current Omicron wave, new figures confirm.

The number in hospital as of Monday morning was 1,063, a rise of 79 on Sunday. There were 137 admission and 43 discharges on Monday.

It is the first time more than 1,000 patients have been in hospital with Covid-19 since February 10th, 2021.

The numbers in intensive care have also risen from 84 to 89, with nine admissions and two discharges.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 who are presenting to hospitals with symptoms is “significantly down” on previous waves said, but the volume of people in hospital with Covid-19 is still impacting on services.

“Our ICU cases haven’t risen, they have remained stable. We will see what this looks like in a week’s time,” he said.

“One good thing is that we are not seeing the number of patients who need advanced respiratory supports and invasive ventilation. It is certainly down on what it would be in previous waves. Ultimately [it] is the volume that is really impacting us and the staff absences through sickness.”

Staff

Between 14,000 and 15,000 healthcare staff are out with Covid-19 either through having the disease themselves or as close contacts.

“What has really hit is the pace of which this has happened. Some hospitals have gone from 60 staff out to 350 staff out in a short space of time,” he said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. Annual leave for healthcare staff has been deferred in some cases.

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
255 29

Meanwhile, there have been 83,000 vaccine registrations for children between the ages of five and 11 to date. Some 27,000 vaccinations have been carried out to date with 10,000 in the high-risk category.

Mr Reid said take up is in line with vaccinations for the 12- to 17-year-olds. “We would encourage parents to take their time and look at the information on our website.”

He also stated that the HSE is looking at having a permanent resource to administer the Covid-19 vaccination. “What is the model for delivering Covid-19 vaccinations for the future? How do you scale that up? We are looking at a strategic model around that.”

The chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), Professor Karina Butler has urged parents to have their children vaccinated so there could be a return to “normal childhood.”

“As a paediatrician, a mother and a grandmother I want to see a return to normal activities without worry,” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

“By vaccinating we can move things towards a more normal childhood.”

The vaccine for children was very effective at protection, but it does not always prevent infection, she explained.

Protect

The recommendation was that all healthy children be vaccinated to protect the few that could end up seriously ill.

Even a mild dose could seriously affect a child’s schooling, she warned. It could have psychological and social impacts. The vaccine reduced the risk of passing on the virus in school settings and play groups.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said more than 1.4 million updated Digital Covid certificates have now issued and will continue over the coming days.

Earlier on Monday it emerged that some members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) did not agree with proposals for earlier closing times in hospitality introduced last month.

Ministers are also understood to be increasingly sceptical of the measures, favouring the removal of the 8pm limit on trading hours as well as the rule of allowing only six people to a table.

Although Ministers do not want to overrule Nphet advice, some believe the partial restrictions need to be re-evaluated. There is also support for an immediate reopening in February, if the wave has peaked by then, rather than a gradual unwinding of measures.

The Government is awaiting advice from Nphet on significantly cutting isolation times for close contacts of confirmed cases.

The next meeting of the public health team is scheduled for January 20th but they may meet this week to consider the isolation and quarantine times.

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