Another 12,508 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed today as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar predicted Ireland will be through the current wave of infections in two weeks.
he Health Protection Surveillance Centre was today notified of 5,381 PCR-confirmed cases as well as 7,127 positive antigen tests registered by the public through the HSE portal.
There are currently 1,610 patients with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, an increase of nine on Tuesday. Roughly half of these cases are in hospitals for another reason and are incidental positives, health officials have said.
There are currently 49 people in ICU and roughly 20 of these patients are ventilated, with Mr Varadkar saying this wave of cases is “very different” to previous waves of infection.
The Tánaiste said he “wouldn’t characterise” the Government’s reaction to this wave as ‘letting it rip’ due to the fact it is not re-imposing restrictions.
“I wouldn’t characterise it in that way. What we’re experiencing is a very serious second wave of Omicron, largely driven by a very transmissible sub-variant. But bear in mind from day one of Covid, our objective was to prevent deaths and not see our health service overwhelmed.
“Thankfully, we’re not seeing very high levels of deaths at the moment during this wave, or high numbers in ICU - that is the pinch point. There’s about 49 in ICU today, of whom only about 20 are ventilated. So, this is a very different wave to the ones we’ve experienced previously.
“We don’t think it’s appropriate to impose new legal restrictions on society and the economy. We think it will peak in the next two weeks and we will certainly be in a better position by the end of April.
"The focus now has to be on vaccines, encouraging people to isolate when sick, wearing masks in indoor settings, ventilation, getting outdoors and continuing to increase our healthcare capacity,” Mr Varadkar said on RTÉ’s News at One.
Representatives of nurses and doctors working in emergency departments are to hold a press briefing on Thursday morning in a joint call on the Government to take action on the rising number of Covid cases in Irish hospitals.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine have said hospitals are overwhelmed, wards are overcrowded and “staff need real assistance”.
Many hospital groups have cancelled or curtailed elective, non-emergency care to cope with the burden of increased admissions at emergency departments coupled with the burden of infection and prevention controls due to the increasing presence of Covid-19 in hospitals.
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