Hospital cases rise slowly

Numbers up from less than a week ago, when there were seven patients being treated for COVID in the run up to Christmas

Hospital Covid cases are rising slowly again, according to the latest HSE updates, with Omicron now the dominant variant of Coronavirus in Ireland and people being urged to reduce their contacts.

Ten inpatients at Cavan General Hospital were Covid positive on Monday of this week, December 27, the latest figures available at the time of print.

The number is up from less than a week ago, when there were seven patients being treated for COVID in the run up to Christmas, on December 23.

Of the 10 confirmed cases being treated at Cavan General, one fifth (two) had been admitted in the 24 hours previous.

None of those admitted were being treated in Intensive Care or the hospital's High Dependancy units.

Up to Christmas Eve, December 24, there had been 12,253 confirmed cases of COVID detected in Co Cavan, and 11,320 in neighbouring Co Monaghan since the start of the pandemic.

The numbers have been published as the RCSI Hospital Group is urgently seeking to appoint a Senior Respiratory Physiologist to assist with patient care at Cavan General Hospital.

There is currently one permanent whole-time post available in the Respiratory Services Department, a consultant-led service supported by a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Respiratory Physiologist and administrative supports.

Positivity rate

Almost one in two people being tested for the virus in the community are now receiving a positive result.

In a statement issued after Christmas, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned that it continues to be important for everyone to reduce their contacts and avoid crowded places to the greatest extent possible.

He said of the Omicron variant: "We know that this variant is more transmissible than even the highly transmissible Delta variant. As such, please do not socialise or meet indoors with people from other households."

Dr Holohan also appealed to people to prioritise their booster vaccines and "take every measure" to protect themselves. "This includes avoiding risky environments and keeping your contacts as low as possible. All of the available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will offer good protection against infection with the Omicron variant."

Up to Christmas Eve, December 24, Ireland had the second highest uptake (adult population) of primary vaccination in the EU, and also the booster vaccine.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly welcomed the news that over 386,000 people have received a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines through vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies.

The Minister thanked pharmacists and GPs who had responded to his call for a "step change" in the national vaccine rollout.

He said the HSE had progressed a number of significant changes in recent weeks, at his request, in order to accelerate the booster rollout.

"I don’t underestimate the logistical challenges that these demands have placed on the HSE, but it has responded brilliantly," he said.