Most people in Irish hospital ICUs sick with Covid were eligible for vaccination - NPHET

Incidence of Delta virus strain 'extremely high' warnds Dr Tony Holohan

coronavirus covid-19 delta nphet

Portlaoise hospital ICU staff still on the Covid-19 frontline

The incidence of Covid-19 is 'extremely high' and NPHET has warned that six out of 10 people who are very sick with the virus could have been vaccinated.

The warnings were issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team members who say the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today, August 24, been notified of 1,571 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As of 8am today, 307 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 55 are in ICU.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said there is a very high level of the disease around Ireland.

“On average, we have reported 1,814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day for the last 5 days. Our 14-day incidence is now 526 per 100,000 population. This is an extremely high incidence of disease circulating in our communities.

“Mask wearing is a simple and effective way of breaking the chains of transmission. If you do are infected but do not have symptoms or have yet to develop symptoms, you can still spread the virus to others. Face masks help reduce this risk. By wearing a mask, you protect those around you. In January 2021, 94% of people reported wearing face masks in public places, and 93% in February and in March. As of this month, that figure has dropped to 84%.

“Please, continue to wear a mask in indoor settings like retail, on public transport and in restaurants and in crowded outdoor settings. This remains a simple but important measure that we all can take to prevent this virus spreading in our communities,” he said.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group expects the Delta wave to peak soon.

“Our modelling is telling us that we should soon reach the peak of the current wave of infections caused by the Delta variant. We have been living with COVID-19 restrictions for a significant period of time – it is now 542 days since we reported the first case of COVID-19 in Ireland. It is understandable that many of us are tired of the public health measures that we continue to advise.

“Unfortunately, this disease continues to evolve and the very best way we can protect ourselves and each other is to continue to do our very best to follow the public health advice. A high level of protection against the spread of disease is on the horizon once all of us who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine do so, and importantly, once we all complete the full dosing schedule. You will be fully protected 7 -14 days after your first dose,” he said.

Dr Michael Power, National Clinical Lead, HSE Critical Care Programme and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Beaumont Hospital outlined the situation in hospitals.

“There are currently 55 people in intensive care in our hospitals. Critical care is our last defence against COVID-19. All of our ICUs have limited capacity – when ICU beds are required by patients with COVID-19, it reduces what is available in the system for other patients who require critical care.

“The best way for all of us to protect our critical care capacity and our health service is to complete our vaccination programmes as soon as possible and to continue to follow the public health advice. Please do all you can to avoid transmitting this disease to your family, your friends, your co-workers and to those in your community,” he said.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and Medical Virologist highlighted the value of vaccination and the cost of not getting the jab.

“About 60% of people with COVID-19 who are currently receiving critical care are people who are eligible to be vaccinated. This is a stark reminder to all of us to receive our COVID-19 vaccines as soon as we are eligible to do so.

“If you haven’t registered yet, please do and ensure you receive both doses of your vaccine. Continue to be vigilant and avoid large crowds were possible. If you are attending an event, remember to keep your distance, wear a mask and if you do not feel safe, then leave,” he said.

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