According to the INMO, the number of admitted patients waiting on trolleys in Irish hospitals yesterday reached its highest total since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cork University Hospital had the second-highest number of patients waiting for beds at its emergency department yesterday, and the fourth-highest number of patients waiting for beds overall, with 36 patients waiting on trolleys on Monday.
The most overcrowded hospital in the country yesterday was University Hospital Limerick, with a total of 79 people waiting for beds, including 50 in the hospital’s emergency department and 29 waiting on other wards.
Elsewhere in Cork, there were 14 admitted patients in Mercy University Hospital waiting on beds, and two on trolleys in wards at Bantry General Hospital.
The Environment Minister stressed the importance of getting as many booster doses delivered as possible in the weeks ahead.
He said scientists were still awaiting comprehensive data on the severity of the illness caused by Omicron.
“There is real concern, I think they are valid concerns,” he said.
"So we will continue to watch obviously what the health authorities in Europe are saying and listen to our own health authorities.
“My sense is still the basic message still should be the same, we do need everyone to try and get that booster done. That will, it seems, give further protection.
“And then it’s the basic measures – it’s good ventilation, good social distancing, the basic things we’ve learned over the last two years.”
Asked if he could rule out further restrictions, the Green Party leader added: “I think in this virus what we’ve learned is never to rule anything out.
“We’re still awaiting the scientific analysis. And I think what we’re best doing though is following science, is looking at what our European colleagues are doing so to make sure that we’re part of a wider response. You can’t just work this if you just do it on your own.
“So I don’t think we can rule anything out but at the same time what we have seen I think that maybe gives people some hope is that the numbers in our hospitals have stabilised in the last number of weeks, we want to keep that going and that’s one of the metrics that will obviously be used to watch to see what’s happening to our health system.”