cases spike  | 

Health service ‘really struggling’ amid latest Covid-19 surge, HSE chief says

Over 21,000 cases were confirmed on Wednesday

Health officials have warned of severe pressure on hospitals (Niall Carson/PA)

Clodagh Meaney

The health service is “really struggling” amid the latest surge of Covid-19 cases.

The HSE Chief Operations Officer Anne O’Connor told RTE’s Morning Ireland that the high number of Covid cases has put pressure on hospitals, community services and the national ambulance service.

"I think the real concern here is just the balance across our system in terms of people coming in with Covid and then people presenting in our emergency departments who are very sick and need different types of care," she said.

21,098 cases of Covid-19 were recorded on Wednesday. As of 8am today, there were 1,425 Covid patients in hospital.

“It’s grown considerably, cases are up 29pc in hospitals just in the last seven days.”

O'Connor said that approximately half of people in hospital at present have been admitted with Covid.

Those in hospital with the virus are being treated on a Covid ward which has restricted what care can be given to other patients.

“It’s a very significant demand on hospitals… a lot of their beds are being taken up now by people with Covid.”

The entire health service has been affected as care facilities, mental health services and disability services are under "serious pressure".

“The thing that's really hitting us again is our staff absences,” O’Connor explained.

As of Wednesday, 5,200 HSE staff were out on Covid leave which has also compounded pressure on the health service.

Whole teams of staff are absent from work meaning that many services have been completely halted.

She said that hospitals will be given further direction from the HSE on cancelling non-urgent appointments and procedures.

"It is clear to us that our hospitals cannot continue to do a lot of planned elective work, and we are seeing cancellations already, and we'll be writing to hospitals to say that we support them in doing that for another couple of weeks," she explained.

"It's really important that our hospitals are safe for everybody coming into them."

Today's Headlines

More Irish News

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos