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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 29, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Causes Outbreaks Across 30 Hospitals And 24 Nursing Homes Across Ireland! ERs Inundated!

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COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Causes Outbreaks Across 30 Hospitals And 24 Nursing Homes Across Ireland! ERs Inundated!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 29, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: Ireland finds itself at the epicenter of a healthcare crisis as COVID-19 and flu outbreaks surge across the nation. The Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued a stark warning, revealing that 30 hospitals and 24 nursing homes are grappling with the impact of these escalating outbreaks.


 
Unprecedented Influx in Emergency Departments
Emergency departments across Ireland are witnessing an overwhelming influx of patients, indicating a 72 percent increase in individuals presenting with flu symptoms in the past week alone. Simultaneously, the number of people seeking emergency care for COVID-19 has doubled, reflecting a concerning escalation in the severity of the situation.
https://www2.hse.ie/services/urgent-emergency-care-report/
 
Statistics Highlighting the Surge
During the preceding seven days, the statistics of ER admissions paint a grim picture - 538 individuals sought treatment for flu, compared to 312 the previous week. Similarly, 282 individuals sought treatment for COVID-19, a significant jump from the 144 cases reported earlier. These alarming figures underscore the urgent need for collective action to prevent healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed.
 
The number of individuals attending emergency departments with COVID-19 infections doubled this week, with 54 outbreaks of the disease reported in hospitals and nursing homes across the country.
 
There was also a 72 percent increase in the number of patients presenting with flu in the past seven days, and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has warned that infection numbers are likely to continue rising in the coming weeks.
 
Local COVID-19 News outlets in Ireland are reporting that besides ERs being inundated, hospitals are starting to see COVID-19 beds snapped up and long queues for outpatient services.
 
HSE Urges Public Cooperation
Acknowledging the efforts made by hospitals and community services in preparation for the traditional post-Christmas surge in demand, the HSE emphasizes the need for public cooperation. While hospitals have positioned themselves strategically, the steep rise in both flu and COVID-19 infections poses an unprecedented challenge.
 
Guidance on Emergency Department Visits
The HSE spokesperson urges the public to reserve emergency department visits for major health emergencies, advising alternative options for non-emergency situations. Local pharmacies and the HSE.ie website are recommended resources for individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms. Additionally, the HSE advocates vaccination as a crucial measure to curb the spread of these respiratory illnesses, emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated against both flu and COVID-19 at GP clinics or pharmacies.
 
Challenges Posed by the JN.1 Variant
The emergence of the new JN.1 variant of COVID-19 adds another layer of concern. Dr Éamonn O&rs quo;Moore, director of national health promotion, notes that this variant is fast becoming the dominant strain and is more transmissible, leading to increased infections.
 
Data Collation on Severity
While data is still being collated on whether the JN.1 variant results in more severe illness requiring hospital care, the general risk to vulnerable individuals remains high. Dr O’Moore emphasizes the importance of protecting vulnerable members of society, including children and adults, by taking measures to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.
 
Healthcare System Response
Despite the challenges posed by the rising infection rates, the HSE assures the public that the healthcare system is responding well to the increased pressures. A HSE statement emphasizes the crucial role the public must play in utilizing the appropriate healthcare options to alleviate strain on the system.
 
Ongoing Outbreaks and Hospital Preparedness
Highlighting the increasing community infection rates, the HSE statement notes a rising risk of outbreaks in hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities. As of now, there are 30 ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals and 24 in nursing homes, signifying a concerning escalation from the previous week.
 
Acute Hospitals' Preparedness
The HSE underscores the preparedness of acute hospitals to handle the expected surge in attendances and admissions over the coming period. Despite the challenges, the current number of people on trolleys and surge beds is notably lower than the previous year's figures, indicating effective management.
 
Proactive Measures Amidst Rising Rates
Dr Colm Henry, HSE's chief clinical officer, further emphasizes that the rise in COVID-19 and flu rates will exert significant pressure on emergency departments. A delayed peak in the flu season, coupled with the heightened risk of outbreaks in healthcare facilities, creates challenges in discharging patients to nursing homes or step-down facilities.
 
Local Risk Assessment and Additional Measures
Dr Henry highlights that every healthcare setting is assessing the risks locally and monitoring their own local risks. This may lead to additional measures in certain settings, such as the wearing of masks, if deemed necessary. The increase in circulating viruses necessitates individuals with respiratory symptoms to avoid visiting hospitals and nursing homes.
 
Conclusion
In conclusion, Ireland stands at a critical juncture in its battle against the escalating COVID-19 and flu outbreaks. The HSE's urgent warning underscores the collective responsibility of the public to mitigate the strain on healthcare facilities and protect vulnerable populations. Vaccination, prudent use of healthcare resources, and adherence to preventive measures remain crucial in navigating through this challenging period. As the healthcare system responds to the escalating crisis, it is imperative for individuals to stay informed, take preventive measures, and contribute to the collective effort in overcoming these dual outbreaks.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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