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Young doctor feared for his life after contracting Covid-19

Owen O’Flynn recalled at one stage wondering if he would ever leave the intensive care unit

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A further 825 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by NPHET on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)

A further 825 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by NPHET on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)

A further 825 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by NPHET on Monday (Niall Carson/PA)

A young doctor has said he feared for his life after becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.

Owen O’Flynn, 23, from Cork was admitted to intensive care in April after his oxygen levels plummeted and his heart function dropped to a third of what it should be.

He recalled at one stage wondering if he would ever leave the intensive care unit, or if he would die there.

“Those two or three days in ICU were probably my lowest point,” he told a National Public Health Emergency Team press conference on Monday.

“I was getting loads of support from my girlfriend, my family and from staff and my friends, but still very dark days. We were in unknown territory, we didn’t know what we were dealing with.

“Thankfully then in the next few days things slowly started to resolve. I was discharged from ICU back down to the ward and a week later I was discharged.

“Going home though, I still wasn’t fixed, that wasn’t the end of the story at all.

“I was breathless walking around my house at home, I was in constant contact with the physios to monitor how I was progressing.

“It took about six weeks from discharge until I regained some sense of normality.

“I still haven’t got back to my baseline, essentially.”

Dr O’Flynn said he wanted to share his experience to emphasise that while the elderly are most at risk from Covid-19, it can have devastating effects on people of all ages.

“There is no real way to tell who will deteriorate. I am only 23 years of age, I did have a high baseline previous to this but I ended up in ICU,” he said.

“I would just urge anyone thinking they are immune to the more severe symptoms related to the disease to think twice and follow the current public health advice.”

A further 825 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by NPHET on Monday, bringing the Irish total to 43,531.

There are 224 patients being treated with Covid-19 in hospitals, 32 of whom are in intensive care.

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan emphasised that everybody needs to act to stem the spread of the virus.

He said 7,988 Covid-19 cases have been notified over the past 14 days, and there is a 14-day incidence of 168 cases per 100,000 – an increase from 108 at the beginning of the week.

“There is no more time to be lost, we need everybody to act and we need to break the chains of transmission of this virus as soon as possible,” he said.

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