The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for stronger public health advice on mask-wearing amid the hospital overcrowding crisis.
There are over 534 people without a bed in Irish hospitals today, according to the INMO Trolleywatch count.
Cork University Hospital is the worst Affected with 52 people on trolleys. University Hospital Limerick is second with 44 people waiting on a bed.
Meanwhile, the INMO said talks are continuing with members about possible strike action.
“We are once again calling on the chief medical officer to issue stronger public health advice in relation to mandated mask-wearing,” INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
“It is our view that it is the responsible thing for policymakers and Government to do at this vital juncture when hospitals are not coping and people’s lives are at a higher risk.
“We know that there is a surge in the spread of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), particularly in the Midwest. Our hospitals, especially those in the midwest and on the western seaboard, cannot sustain additional pressure from avoidable illnesses.
“It is time for stronger advice on simple and inexpensive measures such as mask-wearing and handwashing. It shouldn’t be this difficult to issue strong advice in this regard when we are being warned about rising cases of flu, RSV and new Covid variants.”