People in hospital with Covid up 60% but still 'grounds for optimism', says HSE chief

Around 15,000 tests are being carried out each day between Monday and Friday.
People in hospital with Covid up 60% but still 'grounds for optimism', says HSE chief

Digital Desk Staff

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 increased by 60 per cent week on week, but there is “great grounds for optimism”, the chief executive of the HSE has said.

As the Irish Examiner reports, there are currently 160 Covid patients in hospital, 26 of whom are in ICU.

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Paul Reid said approximately 70 per cent of those patients were admitted to hospital as a result of the virus.

A smaller number contracted Covid in hospital, and another smaller number of patients who attended for something else and were asymptomatic for the virus but tested positive, he said.


“While the figures aren’t alarming in themselves, they are cause for continued concern for us. As they continue to rise at a time when we have significant pressure and stress on our hospitals,” he said.

Mr Reid said non-Covid-related hospital attendances are also “up significantly”.

“There are a number of factors driving this. Firstly, there is significant reporting of delayed presentations - people who didn’t present themselves during covid, and a significant proportion of those are from older people who, in most cases, need high acute care,” he added.

Permanent trend

However, Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the HSE, said the number of cases is beginning to “plateau”, though he said it was too early to tell if this was a permanent trend.

There continues to be “very strong demand” for testing activity, though Niamh O’Beirne, the national testing and tracing lead, said it is beginning to steady with a decline of about 3 per cent.

Around 15,000 tests are being carried out each day between Monday and Friday. People aged between 15-24 make up the highest referral volumes, with a 14 per cent positivity rate.

The average positivity rate now stands at 11.7 per cent, with some sites having a positivity rate of up to 21 per cent.

Meanwhile, the vaccination programme continues to roll out at pace, with 71 per cent of the adult population being fully vaccinated, while 86 per cent being partially vaccinated.

Mr Reid said: “The vaccination programme in Ireland is having massive benefits, beyond our expectations. We are setting a high bar for many other countries in terms of our uptake. We are on the final furlong in the race to get the adult population vaccination.”

It comes as the HSE is currently working on plans for the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds, following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

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