Staff at Cork hospitals have been redeployed to critical areas and asked to defer annual leave as pressure on the health system continues to rise.
It comes as a considerable amount of staff at Cork hospitals have become unavailable due to Covid-19-related reasons.
Staff that have been redeployed have been asked not to take their planned annual leave and all flexible working time arrangements are under review.
A spokesperson for the South/South West Hospital Group, which represents a number of hospitals in the region — including Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) in Cork — said: “Management at Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital can confirm that, while there is a considerable amount of staff unavailable for Covid-19 related reasons, staff have been redeployed to critical areas within the hospital and have been asked to defer annual leave, and all flexible working time arrangements are under review.”
All elective work has been suspended across the group, aside from emergency surgery, and only time-critical elective cancer surgery is being scheduled.
On Monday night, there were 146 patients with Covid-19 at CUH and 45 people with Covid-19 at the MUH.
There were 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the critical care unit at CUH and seven confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the critical care unit at MUH.
Nationally, there are 202 Covid-19 patients in critical care units as well as two suspected cases.
Last night, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said that Covid-19 ICU and hospitalisation numbers “are of critical concern” and are representing “a very significant pressure on our healthcare workers and on the provision of acute medical and surgical non-Covid care”.
He urged people not to drop their guard. “We cannot afford to drop our guard against the very high levels of infection that remain in the community at present,” he warned.