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24 May 2022

Rise in critically ill Covid-19 patients at Portlaoise hospital which runs out of ICU beds

HSE chief clinical officer warns of pressure being heaped on ICU

coronavirus covid-19

Portlaoise hospital ICU staff in PPE at the Covid-19 coalface

The number of people who are critically ill with Covid-19 has risen at Portlaoise hospital according the HSE whose Chief Clinical Officer warns that there is a limit to the pressure 'being heaped' on ICU departments around the country.

Latest figures from the HSE Covid-19 Daily Operations Report shows that while virus cases have fallen at Portlaoise hospital, there were three people being cared for by intensive care staff after falling critically ill with the coronvirus.

The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise ran out of ICU beds by 8pm on Tuesday, November 2 when there were six general beds available. However, figures from nurses show that there were six people waiting for a bed at the Laois hospital on Wednesday morning, November 3.

There were no ICU beds in its sister hospital in Tullamore where there were also three critically ill Covid-19 cases. INMO figures show there were six people waiting for a hospital bed on Wednesday morning.

Naas General is in the same Dublin Midlands hospital network. It had one available ICU bed while one patient was crtically ill with Covid-19 at the hospital. There were 14 people waiting for beds in the Kildare hospital on November 3.

The HSE daily Covid report for Wednesday says report says there were 458 people in hospitals with Covid-19 by 8pm on Tuesday, November 2. There were 106 suspected cases. A total of 62 people had been admitted to Irish hospitals suffering with the virus in the 24 hours to 8pm November 2.

HSE figures say there were just 87 general beds and 22 ICU beds available around Ireland at the end of Tuesday. The HSE says that nearly a third of the 300 people in intensive care have Covid-19. Of the very sick Covid-19, 54 were on ventillators.

National trolley figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says that there were 481 people on trollies in Irish hospitals on Wednesday morning. Of these, 380 were on trollies in Emergency Departments.

The strain intensive care capacity was highlighted on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio by Dr Colm Henry, the HSE, Chief Medical Officer.  

"That intensive care capacity isn't indefinite in terms of its ability to absorb all the pressures heaped upon it," Dr Henry said. 

"There will be some cancellations of service where there is a dependency on a particular type of surgery, that's elective in nature for intensive care capacity," Dr Henry said. 

"We are seeing some cancellations locally because of pressures on unscheduled care," Dr Henry confirmed. 

Mitigation measures can be taken, including transferring patients to other intensive care units, Dr Henry said. 

"Hospitals are well-used to, during periods of surges over many winters before pandemic, bringing in mitigation including and not limited to cancellations of elective activity," he said. 

Yesterday, it was announced that there were 3,726 additional cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ireland. 

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