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Head of HSE warns non-urgent healthcare may need to be scaled back

774 people with Covid-19 are being treated in Irish hospitals as of this morning- the highest number since the end of April.

744 people with Covid-19 are being treated in Irish hospitals as of this morning (Monday).

It’s the highest number of patients on wards with the disease since the end of April.

22 of those are in Kilkenny’s St Luke’s Hospital, where 5 patients with the virus are in critical care units.

There’s also 18 patients on trolleys waiting for a bed at the local hospital.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the HSE says non urgent health care will be scaled back in hospitals this week.

Paul Reid is warning Covid-19 cases are likely to hit 7,000 in the coming days so hospitals have to prioritise the virus.

People who are close contacts of someone with the virus currently aren’t being tested unless they show systems because of demands on the system.

Paul Reid says they may have to prioritise vulnerable groups for testing, if the system becomes overwhelmed;

“There’s a point at which any system gets overwhelmed, and then you have to prioritise. We were looking at one day last week, and if we calculate the close contacts that people, we would have had about 52,000 tests to be done in a day. That’s a scale where you just have to prioritise.”