The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has described the Covid-19 rates of infection as “out of control”, despite a slight decrease in the overall number of patients being treated for the virus in hospitals.
As of 11am this morning, there were 1,846 people with Covid-19 in hospital, while 215 of these patients were receiving care in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) around the country.
The INMO has renewed calls for stricter measures to reduce the level of hospital infections, as almost 2,000 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus in the past two weeks.
They are seeking urgent upgrades to hospital safety measures, including a national requirement for FFP2 masks in all healthcare settings, an increase in the distance between beds in wards, regular testing of staff on a rolling basis, and for a safety review of each hospital to be conducted.
Despite early indicators of an improvement in the rates of transmission of the virus in the community, hospitals remain under extreme pressure due to the third wave of the virus.
Although daily case numbers have fallen from the record figures reported over the Christmas period, hospitalisations remain worryingly high and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has warned Ireland may see up to 1,000 deaths in January. So far this month, 622 Covid-related deaths have been recorded in the State.
Critical care capacity
According to the HSE’s latest Covid-19 operations update, at 6.30pm yesterday, there were 28 adult critical care beds available across 14 hospitals.
Twelve hospitals had no available critical care bed, including Cork University Hospital, Letterkenny and St Vincent’s hospitals.
Of the 323 adult critical care beds currently occupied, 215 of the patients had tested positive for the virus, an increase of four from the previous day. Nine beds were also reserved for specialist care and were therefore not available for general ICU admission.
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University Hospital Kerry, Galway University Hospital and Drogheda each have four available critical care beds, while University Hospital Waterford, Tullamore, St James’, Connolly and Beaumont each have two remaining.
The number of critical care beds in the State continues to rise, with 345 such beds now open and staffed compared to 274 on January 1st.
In the 24 hours to 8am on Friday, five people with Covid-19 died in critical care units. At 6.30pm yesterday evening, 137 patients with the virus were ventilated, with a further three patients suspected of also having the virus requiring ventilators.
At that time, St James’ had the highest number of confirmed cases in its critical care unit (21), followed by University Hospital Limerick (19), the Mater (18) and Cork University Hospital (16).