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Ireland's hospital system reaching full capacity

Dublin, Nov 16 (IANS) Ireland's hospital system is reaching its full capacity due to surging Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, an official said here.

Anne O'Connor, chief operations officer with the state agency Health Service Executive (HSE), told local media that only 94 beds were currently available across Ireland, reports Xinhua news agency.

There has been a 25 per cent increase in hospital admissions in the last week, and ICU admissions during the period went up 41 per cent, said O'Connor in an interview with the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE.

People coming into hospital with Covid-19 are in a worse condition this time around, she said, adding that 81 out of the 117 patients currently being treated in ICUs require ventilation.

According to the HSE, there are only just over 200 ICU beds in the country's public hospital system.

The Irish Department of Health reported 4,570 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 622 patients being treated in hospitals, with 117 of these in ICUs.

These figures are the highest since the current wave of infections hit the country in mid-July, when the daily number of cases jumped over 1,000.

On Monday, the Irish Department of Health published a "Winter Preparedness Plan", in which it plans to add over 200 hospital beds by the end of next March.