Republic of Ireland news

Senior health official predicts ‘difficult' few weeks for Republic

The Republic's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said it was possible the Republic could record 200,000 cases of Covid-19 in December
Dominic McGrath, PA

The Republic is set to face a “difficult” few weeks amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the deputy chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Ronan Glynn, in a video posted on Twitter today, said that it was possible the Republic could record 200,000 cases of Covid-19 in December.

“Our entire health system, from public health to general practice to our acute hospitals, is stretched and non-Covid care – including cancer surgery, cardiac care, hip and knee replacements, mental ill health and all of the common ailments that if identified and treated properly may be prevented from deteriorating further – continues to be severely impacted,” he said.

He said that 200,000 cases was not “inevitable” and asked people to follow public health advice.

He added: “The next few weeks will be difficult for everybody.

“But by sticking with these basic measures, we can avoid the worst impacts of this current wave and ensure that we continue to protect to the greatest extent possible those who are most vulnerable within our communities.”

The latest warning from a senior health official comes days after the government introduced new measures that it hopes will curb the spread of Covid-19.

This includes ordering that pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in the Republic should now have a midnight closing time, while people are also being asked to work from home if possible.

Today, chief executive of the University of Limerick Hospital Group Colette Cowan said that she expected elective care to be stood down midway through next week as her staff grapple with the fourth wave of the virus.

She said that by next Wednesday, she believed that all elective procedures will be paused as the hospital group prepares for a surge in Covid-19 patients.

“At the moment, we look at our elective work every week. We look after time-sensitive care and cancer surgery for sure, on site,” she told RTÉ radio.

“If we can manage to flex the ICU beds and have enough to treat the critically ill, we will work through that.”

She said that ICU in the hospital is currently full, creating extra pressure for staff.

If Ireland did see 200,000 cases in December, she warned it would “collapse” the health services.

“It would cause a collapse of the health services and I don’t mean to be stark,” she said.

“We can manage to a certain level, but alongside that we also have a lot of people attending the emergency department for treatments for other illnesses.”

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