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656 patients with Covid19 are being treated in hospitals across the country, 19 of them at St Luke’s General for Carlow and Kilkenny

It's as the Taoiseach and Health Minister are meeting today with senior health officials to discuss pressures on the system

Hospitalsations for Covid19 and flu could reach over one thousand this Christmas according to the HSE. 

A National Crisis Management Team has been set up to allocate resources to emergency areas of the health service and today (Friday, 23rd December) senior health officials are meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

It’s understood it’s over a spike in viral infections and the pressures on the health services.

Damien McCallion, Chief Operations Officer with the HSE, says emergency measures will be put in place; “When the system is under pressure there are always risks there but there are very clear protocols developed by our emergency medicine programme that are in place throughout hospitals in the country and it’s important clearly those are followed but there’s always going to be risks in our system based on when the system comes under high degrees of pressure such as it is at the moment”.

The latest surge in virus infections is expected to bring the highest pressure on the State’s health service ever in the coming weeks.

The numbers of patients waiting on a bed in recent weeks has soared – peaking locally at 54 on one day alone, though today there are 24 people waiting on a bed according to the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation.

But there were 656 people with Covid19 in hospitals yesterday, 19 of them at St Luke’s General hospital for Carlow and Kilkenny after five new admissions there, thankfully none required intensive care.

But added to that there are over 900 patients across the country expected in hospitals with flu in the the first week in January.

UCD Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Dr. Jack Lambert says plans are needed to deal with this spike in covid 19; “Now we’re seeing Covid is, you know, surging a number of times in the year it’s not just the winter but maybe two or three times a year we’re seeing increases in Covid and that’s going to surge again, it’ll go down again in the New Year and surge again probably in Springtime, we just have to prepare ourselves”.