ICU patients numbers fall below 100 as Limerick medic praises progress made on Covid

There are 401 patients in hospital with the coronavirus - the lowest this year.
ICU patients numbers fall below 100 as Limerick medic praises progress made on Covid

401 patients are receiving treatment for Covid-19 in hospital in Ireland. Picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

The number of people in intensive care with Covid-19 has fallen below 100 for the first time in over eight weeks.

99 patients are in intensive care units (ICUs) in public hospitals - which is less than half the number in late January.

There are 401 patients in hospital with the coronavirus - the lowest this year.

The deputy chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Ronan Glynn said all the key indicators are going in the right direction and "real progress" is being made.

Five admissions and five discharges were made yesterday from ICUs and hospital admissions were lower than discharges in the past 24 hours at 34 versus 43, respectively.

Reduced numbers

Dr Catherine Motherway, a consultant in intensive care at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), said the falling hospital admissions are encouraging and that falling admissions result from reduced community transmission of the disease. 

"The people who are coming into hospital are the ones that we will eventually see or generally admit about 10% to ICU, so as those numbers fall, we expect to see reduced numbers come into us, 

"And that seems to be the case for the last few weeks both as a result of I'd say as reduced community transmission as well as the vaccination programme as it is being rolled out," she said. 

The latest data about the impact of reduced community transmission and vaccination on hospitalisation comes as calls are made for pregnant women to be moved higher up the priority list for Covid-19 vaccination.

Vaccines and pregnancy

It follows four preliminary reports of stillbirths that may be linked to a condition known as Covid Placentitis.

Professor Keelin O’Donoghue, head of the Pregnancy Loss Research Group at Cork University Maternity Hospital, is one of the few obstetricians who has successfully treated a pregnant woman with this little-studied condition.

She has said this would be a safe move given the latest research into Covid vaccine safety for pregnant women.  

Professor O'Donoghue said: “There is an argument for moving pregnant women up the priority list for vaccination. For those who are currently in the priority groups, we would be happy to encourage vaccination.

"The safety data on vaccination in pregnancy is increasing all the time; from the countries who have vaccinated more than us, particularly the US and the UK.”

Vaccine drive

Meanwhile, 1,500 people aged between 80 and 84 will receive a Covid-19 jab in a mass vaccination centre in Dublin today.

They will get their first dose in Dublin City University from up to 100 doctors and their practice nurses.

The hub is for GPs who have less than 200 people attending their surgeries.

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