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03 Jul 2022

Dr Tony Holohan warns about Covid-19 Omicron wave's 'unsustainable' impact

20,000 new cases on January 29

BREAKING: Another sharp spike in Covid cases

Over 90% of people in hospital and intensive care with Covid-19 are there for the management of Covid-19 and the current rate of infection cannot be sustained by these hospitals, Dr Tony Holohan has warned.

The Chief Medical Officer issued the warning in the latest National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) statement. It reported that the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 20,554* confirmed cases of Covid-19.

As of 8am today, 619 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 88 are in ICU.

Dr Holohan said it is the fourth time this week that NPHET Ireland’s highest ever number of confirmed cases of Covid-19. He said it is hitting hospitals.

“In the last 24 hours, 148 people with Covid-19 were either admitted to hospital or received a “detected” test result while in hospital. Hospitalisations at this level are not sustainable and are having a significant impact on our health service.

"It is important to note that these admission figures are increasingly likely to be driven by the surge in Omicron infection which now accounts for over 90% of PCR confirmed cases in Ireland. Over 90% of people in hospital and intensive care with Covid-19 are there for the management of Covid-19; less than 5% of those in hospital or intensive care have ‘incidental’ (asymptomatic, non-infectious) disease," he said.

He urged people to take every precaution possible.

“The most effective way to minimise the risk of any of us transmitting this virus to others is to avoid mixing indoors with people from other households. I know this is not the advice any one of us wants to hear, particularly in advance of New Year celebrations. However, given the current profile of the disease, it is essential that all of us continue to keep our social contacts as low as possible in the days ahead. 

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said the situation is unprecedented.

"Omicron is far more contagious than previous variants and incidence across the country is now much higher than at any point in the pandemic. Because of this, many people, despite being boosted and having taken other measures to protect themselves will be infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, their booster will protect the vast majority from serious illness or hospitalisation, and it will help to protect our health service and critical care capacity.

"To date, over two million people have received their booster, without this very significant uptake, the current impact on hospitalisation would be considerably worse. Please come forward and avail of your booster as soon as it is available to you. If you have not yet had any Covid-19 vaccine, it is never too late, please come forward and avail of it as, without it, you are at risk of very significant illness if you are exposed to the virus," he said.

In anticipation of large volumes of case numbers over the coming period the daily case number announced will be based on positive SARS-CoV-2 results uploaded to the HSE COVID Care Tracker the preceding day. These data are provisional. HPSC and surveillance partners will continue to notify and process cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 on CIDR over this period.

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