By Carmel Hayes
PORTLAOISE hospital has no patients with a Covid-19 infection, for the first time since early September.
The hospital has been clear of the virus since last Thursday and there were no confirmed or suspected cases this morning.
Just a week before Level 5 restrictions are due to be lifted, it is very encouraging news for the county, particularly following a serious Covid-19 outbreak at the hospital in October.
There were no confirmed coronavirus cases at Portlaoise Hospital from last Thursday through to 8pm last night, according to the latest available HSE figures.
The HSE acute hospitals daily operations report, released this morning, confirms that the hospital was free of Covid-19 infections throughout the weekend.
Two beds were available in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) last night, while there were 16 vacant general beds.
In mid-October, Portlaoise Hospital was hit by a coronavirus emergency, when there was an outbreak affecting both staff and patients. A medical ward had to be closed to new admissions because of the crisis.
During the outbreak, the hospital had eight patients with confirmed Covid-19, including three critically ill in ICU. It was the highest number of patients with the virus since the first wave of the pandemic in mid-April, when the worst day also saw eight confirmed coronavirus patients at Portlaoise hospital.
The good news this week reflects a recent sharp fall in the incidence of Covid-19 cases in Laois.
The county had the second lowest Covid-19 rate in Ireland last night.
Laois currently comes 25th out of the 26 counties in terms of 14-day virus incidence. Only Wexford has a lower rate.
The 14-day incidence of the disease in Laois was 60.2 per 100,000 people yesterday, a big drop from 80.3 on Saturday. The national incidence yesterday was 109.1.
Just over a week ago, on Sunday 15 November, Laois had the tenth highest Covid-19 incidence nationally at 131.1. The county had 51 cases during the 14 days up to midnight last night.
Since the pandemic began almost nine months ago, Laois has had 950 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 22 November.