SINN Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has expressed concern at the "severe pressure" that Cork hospitals are under given the surge in Covid cases in recent weeks.
The Cork South Central TD has called for the Government to urgently increase access to ICU beds, and beds more generally.
He said:“The INMO has warned that the CUH have 100 nurses out on Covid reasons, and an ICU ward has had to close over a lack of staff. This is extremely worrying, and is a stark warning of what is to come if we do not get Covid under control in Cork.
“It is clear that the hospital system here is under severe pressure, and will struggle to cope with the influx of Covid-19 related cases of this third wave. The daily number of cases in Cork have increased substantially over the Christmas period, and are worrying increasing significantly each day.
“While the pressure on the system is not only caused by COVID, but issues generally in healthcare, it does demonstrate the precarious situation, which will be exacerbated by significant numbers of COVID cases.
“I am calling on the Minister for Health, as I have previously, to urgently seek and acquire additional beds as required. That includes in the ICU, but also community and step down beds. It is very clear that there is a very urgent need.
“The Government and the HSE need to step up and protect our hospitals in Cork, provide them with the support and help they need.
"The pressure on staff numbers highlights the importance of vaccine rollout and we need to speed that up, particularly where it relates to frontline health care workers.
“This is a crucial time for Cork. We need to relieve the pressure on ICU and critical care beds in our hospitals. I know that the restrictions announced in the past weeks on households visits and closure of businesses will be difficult for many, but if they are what is required to put a stop to this third wave, then we must all play our part."