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02 Oct 2022

Covid-19 wave puts Laois and other hospitals in Midlands under 'huge stress'

HSE plea to public

Covid-19  coronavirus

Covid-19 at Portlaoise hospital frontline staff

Renewed advice has been issued to people in Laois and other Midland counties as hospitals in the region experience "huge stress" as a reuslt of rising Covid cases, according to the HSE.

Almost 12,000 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday with over 1,600 people in hospital with the virus, 54 in ICU. Over half of cases in hospital are there for reasons other than Covid but the extra strain and Covid-enforced staff absences are putting strain on the health service.

The HSE is urging people to continue to adhere to the public health advice as the rise in cases is placing huge stress on our healthcare services.

Des O’Flynn, Chief Officer of Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation said: “The current rise in cases of Covid-19 reinforces the need for all of us to continue to adhere to the public health advice. Everyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 should self-isolate until 48 hours after symptoms have substantially or fully resolved.

"I would also advise people to continue to manage risk for themselves and others who are more vulnerable, around them. You can do this by being fully vaccinated, wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds as well as maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene. I would urge anyone due a Covid-19 vaccine to come forward for vaccination.”

Dr Una Fallon, Director of Public Health Midlands says that the virus is still circulating and it’s important that every person in the Midlands benefits from the protection that vaccination provides.

Explaining the importance of seeking a booster as soon as possible, Dr Fallon said: “Because of the uptake in vaccines, we’re seeing a large degree of protection, a reduction in conversion of those high numbers of cases to those who become severely ill, as measured by hospitalisation or intensive care. Getting a booster brings your protection from serious illness and hospitalisation back up to 90% after two weeks.”

"However, because of high levels of transmission in the community, Covid-19 is continuing to have an impact on services, as we continue to manage and care for patients with Covid-19 across all healthcare settings – hospitals, primary and community care, nursing homes, day centres etc," a statement from the Midlands hospital group continued.

Dr Fallon added: “Along with that, we have very significant numbers of HSE staff out with COVID – including doctors, nurses, therapy staff and healthcare assistants – and that is impacting on care. A collective national response and the proven effectiveness of vaccines in protection against illness and saving lives has allowed the lifting of nearly all restrictions. With opening up of society in recent weeks, collectively we can turn the tide again by doing the basics - please wear your mask appropriately, practice hand hygiene and come forward for your booster or primary vaccine and isolate if symptomatic.”

HSE plea to public

The National Transport Authority and Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have been among the bodies calling for a return to a mask mandate in public transport and health settings. Others have called for a return to mandatory masks in retail.

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