By Carmel Hayes
PORTLAOISE hospital had a surge in Covid-19 admissions at the weekend, when the number of virus patients soared to record levels.
Frontline staff were stretched to the limit on Saturday night, when there were 19 confirmed Covid patients at the hospital. Three were critically ill in ICU.
This is more than double the number of virus patients admitted to Portlaoise hospital at the initial height of the pandemic last April. During the first and second waves of the virus, the number of patients with confirmed Covid-19 never exceeded eight.
Today’s HSE report shows that 16 patients diagnosed with the virus were receiving treatment at the hospital last night (Sunday), a decrease of three from the previous night.
All ICU beds were full last night, while there were ten vacant general beds.
The number of Covid patients at Portlaoise hospital has risen sharply since the start of the year. On 28 December, the hospital had four patients with confirmed Covid-19. By New Year’s Day, the number had doubled to eight and has continued to rise since then.
The number rose to 13 last Wednesday night before a slight fall to 11 on Thursday night, followed by a sharp rise to 17 on Friday night.
The stark situation in Portlaoise reflects a record rise in the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals nationwide over the past week.
The number of hospitalised Covid patients exceeded 1,000 for the first time last Thursday, when the number soared from 1,022 at 8am to 1,076 at 8pm.
By last night, there were 1,499 virus patients in hospitals nationwide, including a record number of 127 in ICUs. There were five Covid deaths in ICUs over the previous 24 hours.
The HSE ‘Daily Operations Report for Acute Hospitals’ does not disclose Covid patient outcomes in individual hospitals, whether recoveries, deaths or transfers to other settings. These details are provided only on a national basis.
Covid vaccinations for frontline staff began last Thursday at Portlaoise hospital.
The hospital cancelled all non-urgent services last week, as staff cope with the surge in Covid-19 cases. All non time-dependent work has stopped, including inpatient, day case and outpatient services.