02 Oct 2022

'A national emergency' - INMO calls for wider mask mandate as Covid cases soar

'A national emergency' - INMO calls for wider mask mandate as Covid cases soar

660 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has today confirmed the highest numbers of patients on trolleys since the beginning of the pandemic. 660 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today. 

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“We have seen a 15% increase of patients on trolleys in the last 24 hours with 660 patients for whom there are no beds. 

“The Minister for Health needs to intervene and declare this trolley chaos for what it is - a national emergency. 

“A range of measures must be taken now in the short to medium term including the curtailment of all non-emergency, elective care and the reintroduction of mask wearing in crowded and indoor settings. 

“As of this morning, 7,753 patients have been without a bed in our hospitals since the mask requirement was dropped on February 28th. ESRI research published today shows that two-thirds of people are still wearing masks on public transport and when shopping.

“If we could increase this number through a re-introduction of mask wearing, it would help ease transmission numbers. 

“Our nurses and midwives are burnt out and exhausted. We can’t expect them to be able to provide safe care in environments that are overcrowded while dealing with a highly transmissible airborne virus.”

On Monday morning there were 1,308 people in hopsital with 49 in the ICU, something that Ms Ní Sheaghdha described as extraordinary and the equivalent of one full acute hospital.

She also warned that being admitted to a hospital is now a danger as the are becoming reservoirs for the virus.

"We cannot continue with elective care because we don't have enough room in our hospitals and the practice of nursing people with Covid with an airborne infectious disease with those who don't is very very dangerous."

The General Secretary also added that there is still a huge problem with ventilation in hospitals and there has been no sign of measure taken to correct this.

Mandated mask wearing no longer applies in on public transport, taxis, schools, in retail premises and public offices however it is still required in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.



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