Irish health chief warns of tough winter ahead

Irish health chief warns of tough winter ahead

HSE HEAD Paul Reid has warned that the Irish Republic is staring down the barrel of “one of [its] most difficult winters… for many years.”

The Health Service Executive chief cited that the number of people currently in hospital – and specifically receiving treatment for Covid-19 in intensive care units –has risen sharply.

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Reid said that there were no longer any available paediatric ICU beds in the Republic, and that there were potentially only eleven ICU beds free for adults.

“That's a big impact for us,” he said.

Covid-19, he continued, is “putting severe pressure” on the Republic's hospital system – a warning which will come as bad news to many as the country moves towards easing restrictions and continuing with its economic recovery.

Of the already limited 206 ICU beds available in the country, a whopping 96 – that’s 47% of the total number – are occupied by Covid patients, with Mr Reid stressing that of those 96 patients, 57% have not been vaccinated.

“It's a real challenge for us, particularly as we head into winter, this is going to be probably one of the most difficult winters we faced for many years,” Mr Reid said.

No Covid-19-related deaths have been reported in the Republic in the last 24 hours, though there have been five in Northern Ireland.

In the Republic of Ireland, the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test since the start of the pandemic is 5,369.

Another 1,845 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last 24 hours, an increase of 24 from yesterday and an increase of 48 since Saturday.

497 people are currently being treated in hospital with Covid-19.