Public urged to 'hit the reset button' as hospitals battle with Covid surge

Public urged to 'hit the reset button' as hospitals battle with Covid surge

HSE CEO, Paul Reid. File Picture: Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland

The chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE), says it is time for the public "to hit the reset button" as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 surges.

There are now 482 people in hospital with coronavirus, a rise of 76 since Saturday.

As of 8am this morning there are 74 Covid-19 patients in Irish intensive care units, up one over the same period.

"If unvaccinated, you're at higher risk, resulting in a disproportionate impact," Paul Reid said. 

"Do the right thing. For the rest of us, time to do the basics well again."

Between the end of June and the start of October, 63.2% of patients admitted to intensive care units with the coronavirus were not fully vaccinated.

Figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) covering that show that just 57% of cases in ICU had not received one dose of a vaccine, while just under a third were full vaccinated.

In the three month period, there were 258 people admitted to ICUs across Ireland with Covid-19, with more than three-quarters of them having an underlying health condition.

Meanwhile, there are 460 patients in Irish public hospitals waiting on beds this morning.

In emergency departments, there are 362 patients while 98 are on trolleys elsewhere in the hospital.

University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has the highest number of patients on trolleys with 59 people waiting on beds, followed by Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) at 52 and University Hospital Galway (UHG) with 47.

In Cork, there are 27 people waiting on a bed in CUH while at the Mercy Hospital there are 21.

Nphet and NIAC to meet to discuss advice to Government on easing of restrictions this week

Meanwhile, public health experts are due to meet today to produce advice on the reopening of the country from October 22 and an extension of the booster programme.

With Covid cases rising, the Government is looking at a number of options, including the retention of Covid certs for the hospitality sector and the requirement to wear masks in some places.

However, the Taoiseach has stressed that the country will not be moving backwards.

The final decision to be made by Cabinet on Tuesday will be influenced by the recommendations of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), which will meet today.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is also expected to produce advice around boosters ahead of the Cabinet meeting.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there has been a “substantial increase” in the number of walk-ins at vaccination centres in recent days.

“Really great to hear of a substantial increase at walk-in vaccine centres at the weekend, while 3,000+ registered for the first time last week,” he said.

“Booster vaccines for aged 65+ in L TRC (long term residential care) and 80+ in community continue this week. College pop-ups continue also.” Infectious disease specialist Dr Sam McConkey said the number of people in hospital with the disease is “very shocking and disappointing”.

He said the rising number of Covid cases in hospital “disrupts” the regular care given to other patients.

“That’s obstructive and problematic for the health service to have that sort of numbers,” he told RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne show.

“I think it’s actually the sick people and the people who are very sick and unfortunately some people are dying, and that’s really the issue.

“That’s not something that’s really a good way to go into wintertime with flu coming.

“If we opened things more that could potentially get worse. So I think it’s really important that we get out of our minds all the kind of ‘Boris Johnson Freedom Day’, ideas that we had in England back in June.

“I hope that we can continue do sensible things, like ventilation, masks, a lot of the things we have been doing.”

 - Additonal report from PA

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