Irish intensive care units will be at capacity in next few days - Varadkar

Irish intensive care units will be at capacity in next few days - Varadkar

The Taoiseach has said that Ireland's intensive care units will be at capacity within the next few days.

The number of people who have died having contracted Covid-19 in Ireland has more than doubled to 19, after ten new deaths were confirmed last night.

There are over 40 Coronavirus patients in ICUs across the country.

"As things stand we have empty beds in our ICUs which is unusual, usually they are full," the Taoiseach said.

"At the moment, we have spare capacity but the way things are heading, our ICUs will be at capacity in a few days.

"That's already the case across Europe and looks like it will happen here, so we need to plan for that.

"We need to make sure we have backup ICU capacity ventilators, CPAP (positive airway pressure) machines, all of those things, and all that is happening, an unprecedented effort is happening across health service, to tool up to recruit to provide additional capacity.

"Just as we're seeing across Europe and saw in China, there isn't a health service in the world that is able to tool up or scale up as necessary, so we're going to be managing a very difficult situation and everyone is going to be doing the very best job we can."

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar pictured this afternoon during a visit to Total Produce Food in Swords this afternoon...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar pictured this afternoon during a visit to Total Produce Food in Swords this afternoon...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer said of the ten people who died yesterday have died within either hospital ICU wards or within nursing homes and institutional facilities.

The Taoiseach also noted that clusters of infections in hospitals and nursing homes are not surprising.

"That's where people who have the infection often are, and health workers are exposed and are likely to contract it.

"Any additional restrictions will be done on the advice of the public health emergency team, and if they make further recommendations they will be acted on as soon as we can."

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