By Carmel Hayes
SEVEN Covid-19 patients are critically ill at Portlaoise hospital following yet another increase in virus cases.
Frontline staff were stretched to the limit last night, as a record number of 22 virus patients were receiving treatment at the hospital.
This is an increase of one from the previous night, while the number of virus cases in ICU has also increased by one.
The number of Covid patients at Portlaoise hospital exceeded 20 for the first time ever on Monday night, when there were 21 confirmed cases. They included six patients in ICU beds.
Today’s HSE report shows that the number rose to 22 by 8pm last night, including seven critically ill in ICU.
The HSE Daily Operations Report for Acute Hospitals, released this morning, confirms that all ICU beds in Portlaoise were full last night, while there were 12 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 Covid admissions to the hospital has risen sharply since the start of the year. On 28 December, there were four patients with confirmed Covid-19. By New Year’s Day, the number doubled to eight and has continued to rise steeply since then.
The stark situation in Portlaoise reflects a record rise in the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals across the country. There were 1,686 Covid patients in hospitals nationwide last night, a huge rise of 66 on the previous night. The number in ICUs rose from 143 on Monday night to 158 last night, including 89 on ventilators.
The daily HSE report 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.