Taoiseach "concerned" over increase in Covid cases but says ICU numbers "not rising" 4 months ago

Taoiseach "concerned" over increase in Covid cases but says ICU numbers "not rising"

The public has been urged to follow public health advice ahead of St Patrick's Day.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is "concerned" over a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

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However, he added that the number of people infected with the virus in intensive care units is "not rising".

On Wednesday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified of 5,452 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid.

On top of this, on Tuesday, 8,644 people registered a positive antigen test for the virus through the HSE portal.

Meanwhile, as of 8am on Wednesday, 1,081 Covid patients are hospitalised, of which 44 are in ICU.

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In a statement accompanying the figures, the Department of Health said there has been an increase in the number of people with a diagnosis of Covid receiving care in hospital.

It stated that this is placing an additional burden on the delivery of services across hospitals and emergency departments.

Ahead of the St Patrick's Day bank holiday, the Department urged people to continue to follow public health advice, such as mask wearing in crowded indoor settings, on public transport and in healthcare settings.

Speaking earlier on Wednesday while in Washington for St Patrick’s Day celebrations, The Taoiseach said the Government is "concerned with the increase in Covid cases".

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"In respect of hospitals, my understanding is that quite a number of those, about 50%, are people who've arrived into hospital for other ailments but are diagnosed with Covid once inside," he stated.

"The problem for that really is more on the hospitals' organisation and configuration whereby because of isolation, it creates a real pressure on our hospitals.

"So, that's one aspect of that. The numbers in ICU are not rising as we speak."

The Taoiseach said the Government has been in consultation with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly regarding Ireland's Covid situation and that it will be kept under watch and review.

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"I've always been of the view and the Chief Medical Officer has advised that we should wear masks where appropriate, particularly in retail and public transport and in large indoor gatherings," he added.

"But I think what we are looking at to be fair is far more transmissible variants of Covid-19.

"So, it is very difficult, much more difficult, to avoid then maybe earlier variants and also there may be some waning around the infection part of the vaccines.

"But the good news is that the vaccines are still very effective in terms of preventing serious illness arising from Covid."

Main image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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