Monday, March 28, 2022

Vivienne Clarke

Ireland logged almost 40,000 new cases of Covid-19 over a three-day period, as the HSE’s chief warned no modelling is showing current numbers following “a downward trend”.

39,561 new cases of the virus were logged from Saturday to Monday through a combination of PCR tests and antigen test results uploaded to the HSE’s portal.

11,729 cases were recorded on Monday, following 15,460 on Saturday and 12,372 on Sunday.

HSE director general Paul Reid on Monday said the high level of cases in the country made it “feel like we’re entering rather than leaving something.”

The experience of other countries in Europe was that the current variant waned after a while, so that meant Ireland was likely to be dealing with the current wave of the virus “well into April.”

The HSE was trying to mitigate the impact of the high numbers and the subsequent pressure on the public health system, he said. Private hospitals were also being impacted by staff being absent because of Covid-19 and complete speciality teams were absent.

‘Back to basics’

Mr Reid said there was no doubt about the heightened level of risk to the public health system because of the high numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital – 1,625 today, with 54 people in ICU.

Residential care systems were also impacted, with 67 per cent experiencing outbreaks, which made it difficult to discharge patients from acute hospitals.

The HSE would continue to take advice from public health teams and the Chief Medical Officer about public health measures, he added.

“We’re trying to mitigate the impact,” Mr Reid said.

“We’ve been relentlessly getting the message out about public health measures. Mask wearing is part of the solution.”

Mr Reid repeated a call for the 720,000 people now eligible for their booster vaccine to get it as 35 per cent of Covid-19 patients in hospitals have not been vaccinated and 50 per cent in ICU have not received their booster.

“Vaccines work. It’s back to basics.”

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