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COVID-19: Minister says coming weeks will be a challenge for Ireland’s health service

DUBLIN: The Minister for state, Joe O’Brien said that this is the most challenging week in the history of Ireland’s health service. The Minister of State for Community Development opened his mind following a warning from Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly that the situation would worsen in the coming days.

The number of COVID-19 patients in need of intensive care has been rising sharply since the end of December. On Sunday, 1,923 coronavirus patients were admitted to hospitals in Ireland. Of those, 195 are in the intensive care unit. “We have 313 ICU beds at the moment, that goes up to surge capacity of 350,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Minister Donnelly said there were enough clinical staff available to deal with the growing number of patients. “There has been a lot of work done since the first wave. PPE is fine. The number of ventilators – if you remember back in March that was a serious concern, oxygen is fine, a lot of work has been done. Nonetheless, the system is and will continue to be under very serious pressure for the next few weeks.”

The minister’s response came shortly after it was announced that hundreds of student nursing and midwifery placements had been suspended to deal with COVID-19.

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