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HSE CEO Paul Reid, speaking at the HSE briefing this morning.Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.
HSE CEO Paul Reid, speaking at the HSE briefing this morning.Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.
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Live updates: HSE outline scale of Covid-19 task; ICU capacity is 'our biggest challenge' 

The HSE has given a media briefing to update the country on the latest challenges and progress made in the battle against Covid-19.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that ICU capacity is "our biggest challenge" during this crisis.

Today's updates so far include:

  • HSE in position from next week to test 4,500 cases per day.
  • Supply of reagents, the specific chemicals that are needed in order to make sure tests are reliable, will be critical to carry out this level of testing
  • Late last week testing had been constrained to 1,500 tests per day
  • A German laboratory is now completing 2,000 tests per day for Ireland, but the HSE is "still looking at other EU solutions as we continue to source the reagent supply", Mr Reid said.
  • 65% of the Personal Protective Equipment that arrived here from China last week does meet the required specification for use here

  • 15% can be used but is not to the preferred quality
  • 20% of the order that arrived here cannot be used.
  • PPE includes gowns, goggles and face-shields
  • All private hospital groups have agreed to give full use of private hospitals during the Covid-19 crisis
  • 5,000 extra beds available between public and private, including 1,100 isolation beds at Citywest Hotel in Dublin
  • A further 1200 isolation will also be put in place around the country
  • 37,000 tests for Covid-19 have been completed so far. 
  • There are now 50 community testing sites in Ireland
  • Between 12 and 15 assessment hubs will be in place by the end of the week in Primary Care Centres, in Cork, Galway, Letterkenny, Limerick, Cork, Wicklow, Drogheda and Athlone. These hubs will offer "enhanced support" for people who have tested positive. 
  • Numbers for people attending emergency departments for "normal" urgent care issues are very low and the HSE is worried that people are not attending when they need to, including some people who've had minor strokes.

Graphic on face masks.
Graphic on face masks.

:: Updates throughout today