By Carmel Hayes
THE number of confirmed Covid-19 patients at Portlaoise hospital has risen to five, with two in intensive care.
Today’s HSE report shows that the hospital had five patients with confirmed coronavirus last night (Thursday), an increase from four on Wednesday.
Two Covid patients were critically ill in the intensive care unit (ICU) last night, while the other three were receiving treatment in isolation beds.
The HSE report, released this morning, shows that Portlaoise hospital’s ICU was full last night but there were eight vacant general beds. There were no suspected Covid cases at the hospital.
The HSE confirmed on Wednesday that an outbreak of Covid-19 has affected both patients and a number of staff at the hospital, who are self-isolating.
The outbreak resulted in the closure of a ward to new admissions, to prevent the virus spreading to other parts of the hospital. The HSE did not confirm how many staff have tested positive.
Today’s HSE ‘daily operations report on acute hospitals’ says that two of the five confirmed Covid-19 patients in Portlaoise were receiving treatment in ICU last night. They were among 29 confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital ICUs nationwide last night, including 20 on ventilators. There was one Covid-19 death in ICU in the previous 24 hours, according to the report.
Sadly, two Covid-19 residents of Kilminchy Lodge nursing home passed away at Portlaoise hospital in the past week, one on Saturday and another on Monday. The death on Monday brought to four the number of Covid deaths associated with an outbreak at Kilminchy Lodge, where 21 residents and ten staff tested positive for the virus.
In a statement on Wednesday following the outbreak at Portlaoise hospital, the HSE said that all other services at the hospital will continue to operate as normal. Patients who have appointments to attend the hospital should attend, unless contacted by the hospital directly.
The statement said: “In accordance with HPSC guidelines, the Hospital Outbreak Control Team was convened. Covid-19 testing and contact tracing of both staff and patients is actively on-going to ensure the protection of public health. Any staff identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases are now self-isolating.
“The hospital would like to reassure patients, staff and the public that all appropriate steps have been taken in accordance with national guidelines. Staff and patients have been provided with key hospital contacts if any concerns need to be addressed.
“The protection of public health is of the utmost importance to the hospital and every effort is being taken to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19 at this time.”
The worst day at Portlaoise hospital since the pandemic began was on Sunday 19 April, when there were eight patients with confirmed Covid-19 and five suspected cases.
From 27 to 29 April, Portlaoise hospital had four patients with confirmed Covid-19 but the number fell from four to three on 30 April. Since then, it was never higher than three until Thursday 8 October, when the number rose to four.
Nationally, the number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in acute hospital ICUs reached a peak of 160 on 9 April. The number continued to decline since then and dropped below 100 for the first time in May, before numbers began to rise again in September.