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huge spike HSE chief Paul Reid warns of 'very serious situation' as Covid-19 cases to surge to 7,000 per day

As hospitals see a daily increase of 20pc on Covid-19 admissions, Mr Reid said that this week the HSE will be “significantly” winding back on elective care.

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Paul Reid, of the Health Service Executive (Brian Lawless/PA)

Paul Reid, of the Health Service Executive (Brian Lawless/PA)

Paul Reid, of the Health Service Executive (Brian Lawless/PA)

Some 7,000 new Covid-19 cases are expected to be reported per day over the coming week, HSE CEO Paul Reid has warned.

As hospitals see a daily increase of 20pc on Covid-19 admissions, Mr Reid added that this week the HSE will be “significantly” winding back on elective care.

“We have run out of adjectives to describe how serious it is at the minute, but we are getting into a very serious situation overall with the cases but also with hospitalisations,” he said on Newstalk Breakfast.

“We have about 50 ICU beds free and 500 general beds so we are still hoping, however, the trajectory we’re looking at would tell us within January we could be rising to 1,500-2,000 hospitalised cases, and a rise in ICU from anywhere from around 250 and 430.”

Mr Reid said that there is currently 3,000 HSE staff off work due to having Covid or being a close contact.

This comes as Cork University Hospital (CUH) announced that over 100 of its nurses are unavailable to work due to reasons relating to the virus.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne, the HSE CEO said that they have to stand back from any projections that were made and “accept that this is now rampant”.

He added: “Test and trace is no longer our first line of defence, our first line of defence are really what the public do with us now drastically, radically, urgently reduce contacts, stay at home".

As close-contacts will no longer be tested as the system has become overwhelmed, Mr Reid said that GP’s are “swamped” and doing “a phenomenal job”.

He added that those being tested and being positive has significantly increased, with some centres seeing a 50pc test positivity rate.

On the vaccination roll-out, Mr Reid said it will be a seven day programme with 40,000 vaccines expected to be delivered per week.

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