Ministers to meet over rising hospitalisations of Covid-19 patients

HSE’s Paul Reid expresses concern about ‘slowly, continuously rising numbers’

Queues form before the opening of the HSE Covid-19 vaccination walk-in centre, at Croke Park, Dublin on Monday of the bank holiday weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Queues form before the opening of the HSE Covid-19 vaccination walk-in centre, at Croke Park, Dublin on Monday of the bank holiday weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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Ministers are due to meet virtually this week to discuss fresh concerns around the rising number of Covid-19 patients in hospital and intensive care.

The meeting will be held on Friday as the head of the HSE, Paul Reid, expressed concern about the “slowly, continuously rising numbers of hospitalised cases”. While Government sources believe the rise was largely expected and daily case numbers may be plateauing, Ministers will be looking for projections and modelling for the coming weeks.

There were 177 patients in hospital with Covid-19 on Monday, an increase of 14 on the previous day, with 27 in intensive care, an increase of one. The figures have been rising steadily; there were 42 coronavirus patients in hospital exactly a month ago.

Mr Reid said the health service performed a “snapshot” of the profile of patients in intensive care over the bank holiday weekend which showed that about 78 per cent were unvaccinated.

Members of the high-level vaccine taskforce are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the next phase of the inoculation campaign which could see a large number of 12-15 year olds offered a first vaccine before the start of the next school year. An announcement about the opening of the portal will likely be made this week.

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland
8,557,330 7,130,149

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
296 65

The six millionth Covid-19 dose was also expected to be administered this week as nearly three in four adults were fully vaccinated, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Monday night.

It is also expected that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will convene this week to discuss the current trajectory of the virus. A meeting has been provisionally scheduled for Wednesday.

Government officials will also meet representatives from the hospitality industry on Wednesday to discuss the progress on reopening. Industry stakeholders are pushing for a return to normal trading hours in pubs and restaurants as well as a roadmap for the eventual winding down of existing restrictions.

Walk-in vaccination centres

A further 1,352 Covid-19 cases were reported by the Department of Health on Monday, as thousands of people availed of walk-in vaccination centres over the bank holiday weekend.

About 18,000 people attended the centres on Saturday and Sunday, with young people making up the majority of those attending the clinics. Mr Reid said the success of the walk-in centres made for an “inspiring weekend” for the vaccine programme.

Following the strong uptake, the HSE will consider using walk-in vaccination centres in future at targeted times, he told RTÉ Radio. The walk-in facilities were scheduled to run over the bank holiday weekend only, with mass vaccination centres returning to an appointment-only basis from Tuesday.

Mr Reid said the walk-in centres were part of a strategy to drive vaccine uptake that had seen 2.1 million vaccines given in a six-week period. More than 1.5 million of those were given out in July, he said. The walk-in centres were open to anyone aged 16 and over who had yet to receive a first dose.

On Monday morning hundreds of people turned up at the Croke Park walk-in centre in Dublin, in some cases queueing for two hours to receive their inoculations. About 500 people were vaccinated at the centre by lunchtime, with staff there expecting to vaccinate more than 1,000 people by the end of the day.

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