NPHET member warns of potential for 2,000 cases a day and no ICU occupancy by November 2 weeks ago

NPHET member warns of potential for 2,000 cases a day and no ICU occupancy by November

“The reality is that if we keep going the way we are, if you or I had a bad road traffic accident in November… there might not be an intensive care bed.”

A member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said that the recommendation for a nationwide move to Level 5 is based on the “reality” that the hospital system couldn’t cope if the current trajectory of case numbers in Ireland continues.

A total of 1,447 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland since Friday and on Sunday evening, in a letter to government, NPHET recommended that the entire country move to Level 5 to try and combat the spread of the virus.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on Monday, Dr Mary Favier, a member of NPHET and a former President of the Irish College of General Practitioners, said that, if the current trajectory continues, Ireland is looking at 1,500-2,000 cases a day by November.

Asked if the recommendation was based on fears that the hospital system in Ireland wouldn’t be able to cope if case numbers continue to escalate, Favier said: “I think it’s accepted, it’s more than fear, it’s the reality.”

“The reality is that if we keep going the way we are, if you or I had a bad road traffic accident in November or needed emergency cardiac surgery there might not be an intensive care bed for you or I.

“This is a real concern. Back in March, we effectively closed the hospitals, we had issues of temporary wards and temporary morgues and we could potentially be facing it again and we do not want to go there.”

As of Sunday, 4 October, there are currently 150 Covid-19 cases in hospitals and 21 cases in intensive care units (ICU) in Ireland.

Favier said that while Covid-19 has been the most pressing matter in recent weeks and months, non-Covid health issues are also a concern as we enter the winter months.

“People may say, well, our hospitals are fine, there aren’t that many in ICU, but if we keep going on the current trajectory, by the beginning of November we will have 1,500-2,000 cases a day and we will potentially not have ICU occupancy,” Dr Favier added.

“And GPs know that this is on the back of… general practise has been under huge strain for a number of years and under resourced. But across the summer, there was no let up. GPs referred something like 60,000 people last week for testing and that’s an extraordinary volume of work and they’re trying to give flu vaccine and childhood vaccines at the moment.

“And they see a hospital system that’s under strain, it hasn’t recovered from the last lockdown. Covid has taken very significant predominance but non-Covid is a problem and so GPs are very concerned about what the winter will look like.”

You can see the restrictions that will apply to Ireland should Level 5 come into effect here.