Covid-19 specific hospitals considered as ECDC says health system may not cope


The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet this morning to consider establishing Covid-19 specific hospitals.

There are warnings our health system may be overwhelmed by critical coronavirus cases.

The European Centre for Disease Control says Ireland can cope with 5.6 critical patients in every 100,000, which is the lowest level in Europe.

A further 235 new cases were confirmed last night, bringing the total to 1,564.

There were a further two deaths, bringing the total death toll to nine.

26% of patients have been hospitalised, with 39 cases being admitted to ICU.

The report said that patients in critical condition will need specialised care for on average more than two weeks and that healthcare systems may not cope.

Dr Colm Henry, the HSE’s chief clinical officer, says they are considering designating hospitals specifically for Covid-19.

“We’re pursuing that particular method with our own hospitals at the moment in segregating off Covid-19 patients as much as we can within the hospitals into which cases are coming,” he said.

“But we’re also looking at designated hospitals within urban areas, which are self-selecting in Limerick and Cork for example.”

He added: “Those plans are ongoing with our acute hospital system so at this point in time we’re focusing on segregated areas within hospitals.”

Meanwhile, The Dáil meets today to pass emergency laws to deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

All stages of the omnibus bill are expected to pass during a 10-hour sitting with reduced attendance.

The vast package of measures being passed today was revealed by the government earlier this week and covers multiple Government departments.

    Useful information

  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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