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Covid latest Number of Covid-19 patients in hospital tops 800 - highest since early January

There are 47 patients with the virus in intensive care which has remained relatively steady over the past week

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Hospital staff on a Covid-19 ward. STOCK

Hospital staff on a Covid-19 ward. STOCK

Hospital staff on a Covid-19 ward. STOCK

The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital has jumped to 808, the highest since early January.

There are 47 patients with the virus in intensive care which has remained relatively steady over the past week.

It is unclear how many patients with Covid-19 in hospital are there due to complications of the virus or were diagnosed after admission with another illness.

The number compares to last Friday when 670 Covid-19 patients were in hospital of whom 43 were in intensive care.

Another 2,383 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported today in addition to 4,760 people registering a positive antigen test through the HSE portal yesterday.

Overall more than 20,000 positive PCR and antigen tests have been reported on Friday, Saturday Sunday and today.

Face masks are no longer mandatory since last Monday although they are strongly advised to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings.

Although hospital patients may not be directly admitted due to Covid-19 complications they still require to be isolated once diagnosed which causes problems for hospitals and slows down the flow of work.

Hospitals are currently trying to call in patients on hospital waiting lists, to be seen and treated, following a serious backlog arising over the last year.

Eimear Conroy, an orthopaedic Surgeon at University Hospital Kerry, said today that the chronic lack of orthopaedic consultants, available hospital beds, and theatre operating space are the main causes of the unacceptable delays in providing care.

This is resulting in very serious consequences for patients.

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There are currently over 11,700 patients nationally waiting for orthopaedic surgery and 76,000 waiting for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment.5 This represents an increase of 24,700 (48pc) over the past 7 years, and of 7,300 (11pc) since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Kerry alone, Ms Conroy said, there are more than 2,000 people waiting for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment.

“Having someone wait for more than eighteen months to be seen so that we can provide them with a solution is heart-breaking,” said Ms Conroy of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.

"Excessive wait times can lead to the development of chronic pain. If a patient with a rotator cuff injury hasn't used their arm properly for a year, they'll have a huge amount of dysfunction, making recovery from any intervention extremely difficult. People in these situations definitely have worse outcomes, on top of a standard nine to 12-month recovery.

"I recently had a lady in her eighties who, until six months ago, had been living independently.

"Debilitating hip arthritis means that she now walks with her frame, has lost her ability to drive, and needs home help for activities of daily living.

“Being able to see her in a timely fashion in outpatients and provide a hip replacement for her may well have prevented the significant deterioration she experienced.”

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