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easing off HSE boss Paul Reid says he is 'cautiously hopeful' that Ireland has passed the peak of the Omicron wave

'Certainly, we have seen the growth of hospitalisations steadying or certainly not increasing at the level they were'

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HSE chief Paul Reid

HSE chief Paul Reid

HSE chief Paul Reid

The head of the HSE Paul Reid has said he is "cautiously hopeful" that Ireland has passed the peak of the Omicron wave.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Reid said there were a “few positive indications from a health service perspective”.

“Certainly, we have seen the growth of hospitalisations steadying or certainly not increasing at the level they were and our ICU is holding,” he said.

Mr Reid was speaking after it was confirmed that the 1,011 patients with the virus in hospital yesterday morning was the third day in a row the number had decreased.

There were also 92 in intensive for the third day in a row. The ICU figure has not gone above 94 in over three weeks.

Mr Reid said he was “cautiously hopeful” the country had passed the peak of the Omicron wave.

“We will possibly get a better indication over the next few days or week of what is really happening at a testing level, but we are seeing over the last 48 to 72 hours certainly, GP referrals for testing coming down and that is giving us increased capacity for PCR.”

He warned that the health service would take time to recover, even if cases start to decline.

“From a hospital perspective or a HSE perspective we would obviously lag whatever happens at case level,” he said.

“Hospitalisations generally tend to happen after seven days so there would be a longer lag before we would see the full benefit at a hospital level and certainly when we do plateau, we know the tail and the way out of this is a lot longer for our hospitals to cope.

“But I would be cautiously hopeful – we are certainly seeing some good indications.”

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