By Carmel Hayes
THE number of Covid-19 patients at Portlaoise hospital has surged again, with another five cases diagnosed within just 24 hours.
The number of virus cases at the hospital exceeded 20 for the first time last night, while the number of critically ill Covid patients doubled.
Today’s HSE report shows that Portlaoise hospital had an unprecedented 21 confirmed virus cases at 8pm last night (Monday), up from 16 the previous night.
They included six Covid patients receiving critical care in ICU, a worrying increase from three the previous night.
The HSE ‘Daily Operations Report for Acute Hospitals’ confirms that all ICU beds in Portlaoise were occupied last night, while there were 15 vacant general beds.
The hospital cancelled all non-urgent services last week, as frontline staff cope with the ongoing surge in virus cases. All non time-dependent work has stopped, including inpatient, day case and outpatient services.
The number of virus patients at Portlaoise hospital this month is far higher than at the initial height of the pandemic last spring. During the first and second waves of the virus, the number of confirmed virus patients at the hospital never exceeded eight.
The number of Covid patients 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 doubled to eight and has continued to rise since then.
The stark situation in Portlaoise reflects a record rise in the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals nationwide over the past week. There were 1,620 Covid patients in hospitals nationwide last night, including 143 in ICUs.
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 at Portlaoise hospital began last week and the first round has been completed.