HSE chief Paul Reid has said that hospitalisations from Covid-19 are at “a level beyond comprehension”.
His comments come as he confirmed that 158 people with Covid-19 are in the ICU while hospitals around the country are treating 1,750 people with the virus.
Hospitalisations have been rising in recent weeks. On January 1, the number of people being treated in hospital with Covid-19 was significantly lower, at 508.
Mr Reid stated this morning: “Our hospitals are treating 1,750 people with Covid-19 and 158 critically ill in ICU.
“This is a level beyond comprehension. But to assure everyone, our healthcare teams are taking emergency actions to sustain this within a level of control.
“We appreciate your support.”
Our hospitals are treating 1,750 people with #COVID19 & 158 critically ill in ICU. This is a level beyond comprehension. But to assue everyone, our healthcare teams are taking emergency actions to sustain this within a level of control. We appreciate your support. @HSELive— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) January 13, 2021
The HSE’s chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry has warned that even if the number of Covid cases starts to decline, the pressure on hospitals would likely continue for some time.
Speaking onthis afternoon, Dr Henry said that he did not want to see the numbers go any higher, but predicted that they would increase in the coming days putting further strain on the country's hospitals.
He said that the HSE has prepared surge beds and additional intensive care provision, but that they were just "keeping ahead of the figures and demand for beds."
When asked about the role of private hospitals, Dr Henry said that at present they were being used for time-sensitive non-Covid cases, but that there was the option for their use for Covid cases if public capacity was insufficient.
Yesterday saw 158 Covid-19 patients admitted to ICUs around the country, the highest number since the pandemic began. There were also 1,700 hospitalisations on Tuesday.
Last night, the Department of Health confirmed that there had been 46 deaths related to Covid-19.
Two of them occurred in December 2020 while 44 occurred in January this year.
Dr Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer, stated that the high mortality rate may be set to continue.
“Unfortunately, due to the unsustainably high level of Covid-19 infection we have experienced as a country over the past few weeks, sadly these figures are likely to continue for the next period of time,” he said.
“What we can do today, out of respect of those who have lost their lives and those currently in hospital or ICU - and those caring for them - is to hold firm and stay home.”
Earlier today, the chief operations officer of the HSE, Anne O’Connor, has called on anyone who can help frontline workers get to work to do so.
Responding to a question about absenteeism in the health service on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms O’Connor said that between acute hospitals, support services and community services there were over 7,000 workers absent because of Covid-19.
The chief operations officer also admitted that health workers who were close contacts were being called back to work before completing their 14 days self-isolation. This was being used as “a last resort”.
Staff who were close contacts but had no symptoms were tested and then closely monitored by occupational health, she said.