Cabinet subcommittee to consider latest health advice as figures show rise in Covid related hospitalisations  

Last night, 51 people with the virus were being cared for at hospitals in Cork. 
Cabinet subcommittee to consider latest health advice as figures show rise in Covid related hospitalisations  

Last night, 51 people with the virus were being cared for at hospitals in Cork

The cabinet subcommittee is to meet later today to discuss the latest health advice as the number of people in hospital with Covid surpassed 600.

According to the latest figures, there are 617 people in hospital, the highest number of patients since February during the third wave of the pandemic.

More than 100 of these people are in intensive care units.

Last night, 51 people with the virus were being cared for at hospitals in Cork- 40 at the Cork University Hospital (CUH) and 11 at the Mercy University Hospital. 

Eight patients with Covid-19 were receiving care at the critical care unit at CUH. 

Government ministers are to consider the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to tackle the current rising number of cases.

Last week, public health experts recommended that Government advise people to work from home when possible.

Antigen tests 

The committee will also consider a more general use of antigen tests and expanding the use of Covid passes.

Hairdressers and gyms are among some of the places ministers will examine as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said the public needs guidance on when to use antigen tests and how to use them.

“I understand that the Minister for Health (Stephen Donnelly) will be bringing forward proposals in respect of, for example, the wider deployment of antigen testing, as recommended by Nphet.

“I of course will be engaging with colleagues in governments but also engaging with the stakeholders in the night-time economy.

“I think what they (public) need now is guidance on that and that’s what needed to be discussed at the cabinet committee, the types of tests that that should be used, when they should be used, how to use them.

“I think that’s the role of government now and that should be discussed. I would presume that the Minister for Health will bring forward proposals and that would be welcomed.” She added that the tests should be more affordable and accessible.

Covid cert compliance 

The Green Party minister also appeared to rule out the hospitality sector using antigen tests alongside Covid passes, saying it is not financially viable for venues.

She said self-testing is a more feasible option and would provide an extra layer of protection.

She also said that compliance with Covid certs and checking identification needs to continue.

“It is so unfair, from a public health point of view, for the business that is complying and the other that isn’t – that’s putting them in danger,” she added.

“I would say that since July until the end of October, the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) did do 645 checks, and this included 100 checks on late-night venues.

“The HSE did almost 12,000 checks in that same time.” She added that while the Government does not want to bring back restrictions, nothing could be ruled out.

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