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ICU in Ireland is flooded with COVID-19 patients; pressure that Irish hospitals have never faced before

The pressure on the Irish hospitals is severe due to COVID-19. The current situation is at the highest level ever encountered by hospital staff or health officials.

Health experts say that as the country moves within the Level 5 restrictions for about a month, the pressure on hospitals is expected to ease but nothing has changed.

Hospitals across Ireland are overcrowded because the ICUs are full. Dr. Michael Power, Clinical Lead for the HSE’s Critical Care Programme, said the recent trend of rising ICU admissions in hospitals is worrying.

In total, 350 permanent and temporary critical care beds are available. But it currently has 342 beds in use, Dr. Power said. “Past that figure care becomes unreliable because we don’t have the identified staff to look after the critically ill patients,” said Dr. Power, an ICU Consultant at Beaumont Hospital.

Professor Mary Horgan, a Consultant in Infectious Diseases in Cork University Hospital, said that the majority of ICU patients were infected with COVID-19. Professor Mary Horgan added that there were 214 people in the ICU with COVID-19, but there were hundreds of people in the wards who needed oxygen.

Meanwhile, Tony Canavan, the CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, said hospitals were under significant pressure as more than 400 staff between Portiuncula and Galway University Hospitals were on leave related to COVID-19. “It’s extremely difficult to provide full and safe services with that number of people away,” Mr. Canavan said.

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