HOSPITALS in Cork have warned that their emergency departments are exceptionally busy due to increases in the attendances of acutely ill patients and have appealed to people to explore all options available to them before attending the emergency department.
A Cork University Hospital (CUH) spokesperson said its emergency department has been exceptionally busy over the past number of weeks due to the attendances of acutely ill patients in addition to caring for frail older persons with complex needs.
“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the emergency department and this situation is being treated as a priority by hospital management.”
The spokesperson said that the increasing number of Covid-19 positive patients admitted to the hospital is also putting significant pressure on services.
Meanwhile, the Mercy University Hospital’s emergency department has implemented its escalation policy to deal with the high number of patients at the department.
While the emergency department is open around the clock, the hospital advised that patients will experience delays. Hospital management at both hospitals assured that patient care is paramount and stressed that the clinical needs of all patients in the emergency departments are being cared for.
Management also appealed to the public to, where appropriate, first contact their GP or SouthDoc and explore all other options available prior to attending the emergency department if their needs are not urgent.
Yesterday, 54 admitted patients were waiting for beds at hospitals in Cork including 30 people at CUH, 18 people at the Mercy, and six patients at Bantry General Hospital.
There is concern that Ireland could see Covid-19 related hospitalisations rise significantly over the coming weeks. Last night, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned that Ireland could witness up to 20,000 Covid-19 cases a day with 2,000 people in hospital by early January under Nphet’s most pessimistic modelling.
Dr Holohan told a briefing yesterday that the Omicron variant now makes up 35% of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Optimistic models predict 8,000 cases a day with 650 to 1,000 people in hospital, but there are concerns that increased socialisation at Christmas would exacerbate infections. Nphet members said that even if the variant turns out to be less severe than the Delta strain, its superior growth rate meant hospitals are still under threat.
Dr Cillian de Gascun said: “It would be great news if it turned out to be less severe, but its growth advantage remains a serious concern. It would have to be far, far less severe than Delta for it not to overwhelm our health service.”
There were 408 patients with Covid being treated at hospitals on Thursday night. There were 35 people with the virus being treated at CUH and the Mercy on Thursday with nine patients cared for in intensive care units at the hospitals.