There are over 40 people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Cork hospitals this Christmas week, an increase in the numbers hospitalised with the virus last month.
It comes as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Breda Smyth appealed to people to stay at home if they have flu-like symptoms and to return to wearing masks on public transport.
There are currently 42 people with the virus hospitalised in Cork, with 34 Covid-19 patients in Cork University Hospital (CUH) and eight Covid-19 patients in the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) as of 8pm on Monday, December 19.
Last month, on November 30, there were 21 people with the virus hospitalised in Cork, 18 Covid-19 patients in CUH and three Covid-19 patients at MUH.
According to the latest HSE Covid-19 Daily Operations Update for Acute Hospitals, there is one patient with Covid-19 in ICU at CUH. There are currently no Covid-19 patients in the ICU at MUH.
Nationally, there are 11 people with the virus in ICU. The number of Covid-confirmed patients who are invasively ventilated is five.
According to the latest data available on the Covid-19 Data Hub which was last updated on December 13, there have been 171,948 Covid-19 (PCR) cases recorded in Cork.
The data shows that there were 398 confirmed Covid-19 cases (PCR) in Cork in the 14 days up to midnight on December 12.
According to the data, there has been an increase in the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population in Cork since the end of November.
As of midnight on November 28, the 14-day incidence rate was 60.6. The incidence rate in the 14-day period up to December 12 was 73.3.
Prof Smyth said she is “very concerned” about a recent rise in coronavirus hospital admission, and has asked people to make a concerted effort over the next four to six weeks to reduce transmission.
She also asked that people get the flu or Covid vaccine if they have not already.
She said that despite Covid being “very much” in the environment it had plateaued at a certain level up to now.
“However, with the last week in particular, we’ve seen a significant surge in the actual numbers of Covid cases,” she told PA.
“In the last seven days, our Covid cases in hospital have increased by 50%.
“Currently, we have 624 people in hospital with Covid, a week ago that was 430.
“Also, there have been 113 newly confirmed cases in hospital in the last 24 hours, and our seven-day average has now increased to 96.
“So every day, on average, there are 96 new Covid hospitalisations. This has increased significantly because our seven-day average was down around 50 or 60 a week or two weeks ago, so that’s quite significant.” As of Friday, there were an average of 75 Covid hospital admissions per day.
Prof Smyth said it is “very important” that people realise that Covid is still there and still giving rise to significant illness, advising people to improve on wearing masks on public transport and keeping all windows in buses open to increase ventilation.
She said that if people make a concerted effort over the next four to six weeks to try and protect themselves from getting sick that it will in turn help to protect vulnerable loved ones and the health system.