A large fourth wave of Covid driven by the Delta variant could pose “significant challenges” to wider health provision before the end of August, the Health Service Executive has warned.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he was “concerned that large caseloads will put severe pressure on the HSE”.
While hospital admissions associated with Covid remain low relative to pandemic highs recorded in January, the HSE said on Monday it was examining modelling and projections.
“It is possible that significant challenges to service capacity could emerge in mid- to late August. We will monitor the situation closely and any decisions re reduction/pausing of scheduled care will be taken initially at a site level and then nationally as required,” a spokesman told The Irish Times.
They added: “A key determinant of whether we see such challenges in August will be the impact of the vaccination programme on the general public and on staff.”
On Monday, there were 101 people with a Covid diagnosis in hospital, up from 63 a week previously – 20 are currently in intensive care. At the peak of the third wave in January, 2,020 people were hospitalised with the disease.
The three coalition leaders discussed the Covid situation on Monday.
Sources told The Irish Times that the party leaders hope the trajectory of the disease could follow that in Scotland, where cases are reducing.
There were a further 1,071 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed on Monday. Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer, said there was a rise in incidence across all key indicators, with the 14-day incidence of 231 per 100,000 the highest it had been since February 24th.