Nursing home clusters rise as number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals hits three-week low

Nursing home clusters rise as number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals hits three-week low

The number of Covid-19 patients in the country's hospitals has fallen to 665 in 29 facilities around the country, a three-week low.

However, there are now 222 clusters of coronavirus in nursing homes - up from 197 the previous week.

The numbers in intensive care units is now 93, down for the third successive day.

The HSE is now finalising plans to increase its non-Covid care and treat patients in private hospitals.

It comes amid warnings of a potential surge in hospital waiting lists in the months ahead.

Health Minister Simon Harris says private hospital capacity will be important:

"Let's try and use the extra capacity we have to absolutely make sure we can look after people with Covid and be prepared for any potential surge that might come or a second wave - we have got to be prepared for that," he said.

"But let's also see if we can provide non-Covid care as well because I am concerned about some of the things I am hearing about GP attendances being down so much and I know GPs are concerned about that too.."

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