Current flu wave is 'very severe' and 'likely to get worse', says Stephen Donnelly
However, the Health Minister also said a mask mandate won't be reintroduced based on the current public health advice.
Stephen Donnelly has stated that the current flu wave is "very severe" and "likely to get worse".
On Wednesday (4 January), the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) issued a statement in which it revealed there are currently 838 patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals.
“It is time for the Government to call this what it clearly is – an out-and-out crisis. A crisis warrants an extraordinary response from Government and the HSE," the union's general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
Ní Sheaghdha also reiterated her calls for the return of mandated mask-wearing in congregated settings, given that one of the main pressure points in the health service is a rise of respiratory infections.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday night, Donnelly said that the current flu wave is "very severe".
"It's hit earlier than it normally would and so, we have this perfect storm of RSV, flu and Covid obviously, as well as all of the normal pressures," he explained.
"The HSE's view today, when I met them, was that this is likely to get worse. We are likely to see more pressure.
"They don't believe that the flu wave has peaked."
While the Health Minister did advise the public to wear masks in crowded indoor settings and on public transport, he added that he did not anticipate any changes to the existing public health advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
"I want to fully acknowledge the IMNO's concerns. I think they are playing a very constructive role," Donnelly said.
"They're looking for solutions.
"The public health advice to Government, to me, at the moment is not to move to mask mandates.
"But obviously, we will keep the situation under review on a daily and on a weekly basis."
Main image via Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie