By Carmel Hayes
TWO people are critically ill with Covid at Portlaoise hospital but the number of virus patients has remained steady throughout the week.
Today’s HSE report shows that the hospital had 11 Covid patients last night, including two in ICU.
The number of virus patients remained at 11 for most of the week, with the exception of Tuesday when the number rose to 12 before falling to 11 again on Wednesday.
There was one Covid patient in ICU for most of the week but that number increased to two last night.
It was an extremely busy week for frontline staff at the hospital, which was full to capacity on Monday night with all ICU and general beds occupied.
According to the HSE, four general beds were available at Portlaoise hospital last night but there were no vacant ICU beds.
The 11 Covid patients in Portlaoise were among 255 virus patients in hospitals nationwide last night, down from 313 last Monday. A total of 61 were in ICU, compared to 70 on Monday. There have been seven Covid deaths in ICUs nationwide since Monday.
The HSE does not report Covid deaths in individual hospitals, giving these figures only on a national basis.
Daily HSE updates show that the number of Covid patients at Portlaoise hospital more than doubled between Thursday 18 and Monday 22 March.
Five people with the virus were receiving treatment at the hospital on 18 March. The number increased to 11 by 22 March and has remained steady since then.
The current number of Covid patients in Portlaoise is above the highest recorded at the hospital during the ‘first wave’ last April, when there were eight confirmed and five suspected cases at the peak.
However, it is still far lower than the highest recorded during the ‘third wave’ last January, when Portlaoise hospital had a record number of 25 coronavirus patients, including nine in ICU.
Under the Covid-19 surge plan, Portlaoise hospital can transfer critical patients to other hospital ICUs in the Dublin Midland Hospitals Group if required.
All figures are from the national Daily Operations Update for Acute Hospitals, which is published online by the HSE and valid for 8pm each night