Only 37 intensive care beds left available in Ireland as hospitalisation figures continue to surge
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Only 37 intensive care beds left available in Ireland as hospitalisation figures continue to surge

THERE ARE only 37 intensive care unit (ICU) beds currently available in Irish hospitals, according to HSE figures.

On Sunday, a further 6,888 cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed, just as it was revealed that Ireland has the worst viral infection rate across Europe.

Senior HSE advisers have warned that numbers "haven't peaked yet" and that hospitals across the country could be put under intense pressure in the coming weeks.

HSE chief Paul Reid revealed that there are currently 1,452 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals, 125 of which are in intensive care, and stressed that the situation is likely to worsen very soon.

"Early this week we will likely be at double what we had in the peak of last year, which was 881 [Covid hospitalisations]," he said.

"Our concerns is the rising trend."

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Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry echoed Dr Reid's warning of rising numbers.

"Our worry is in the next seven to 10 days, you will see a further rise in these figures and quite severe pressure on our acute hospital system ... our staff are under huge pressure," said Dr Henry.

"It hasn't peaked yet in our view. Those who are sick in hospital now or in intensive care, they acquired the illness two weeks ago.

"In some ways what is happening in the next two weeks has already been determined."

He continued: "We can't change what has already happened. We can't change those illnesses that are going to come into hospitals in the next two weeks but every one of us has the power to reduce additional burden on those cases, and to keep people alive to get the vaccine."