'Hit reset button,' public urged, as hospitals battle with surge in Covid cases

'Hit reset button,' public urged, as hospitals battle with surge in Covid cases

The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE), Paul Reid, said there are now 482 people in hospital with coronavirus, a rise of 76 since Saturday. Photograph: Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland

The public has been urged to "hit the reset button" as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 surges.

The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE), Paul Reid, said there are now 482 people in hospital with coronavirus, a rise of 76 since Saturday.

Seventy-four Covid patients are in intensive care.

There are some 280 ICU beds in Ireland, meaning a quarter are now occupied by patients with Covid.

Mr Reid tweeted: "Time for us all to hit the reset button. 1. If unvaccinated, you're at higher risk, resulting in a disproportionate impact. Do the right thing.

"2. For the rest of us, time to do the basics well again. Both of the above work."

Nphet meeting

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is to meet later today to discuss its advice on current Covid data.

With a rising number of cases, the Government will assess whether restrictions may have to remain in place, including the continued use of Covid certificates for eating and drinking indoors.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is also expected to produce advice on the booster programme.

Nphet will produce its advice to Government, and a final decision will be made on Tuesday.

While some 92% of adults are fully vaccinated, Government ministers have been raising concerns about those who are not vaccinated and the effect it has on reopening plans.

Walk-in centres

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."

Rise in hospital numbers

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."

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