Majority of COVID19 Victims Are Recovering Completely
While the virus death rate remains low, the Free State will not life the lockdown until May 28th. Irish people will be hit 10 times harder by the coming recession than by this pandemic.
The majority of people who contract Covid-19 are recovering completely, as the number of those in Intensive Care Units with the virus goes down.
And Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains crucial in the fight against the pandemic as healthcare workers now need 9million face masks per week - which comes in at a cost of €1billion per year.
And as the spread of the virus slows down, the HSE plans to this week open up more services to non-Covid patients, particularly those with cancer or in need of other urgent procedures.
According to the HSE, 543 people with Covid-19 are currently in hospital. A further 196 people who are suspected to have the virus are also in hospital.
A total of 72 people with Covid-19 are currently in ICUs across the country..
This means the number of those with Covid-19 in ICUs is now 55% lower than it was at the peak of 160.
Speaking in Dublin on Sunday, the HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry, said the majority of people in the community setting are recovering from the virus - and thousands of lives have been saved.
He also paid tribute to the families who have tragically lost loved ones to the virus.
Dr Henry said: “Since the social distancing measures were brought in at the end of March, we see some positive trends that can give us hope as to how we’re going to navigate our way through this and how we come out the other side.
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“The proportion of people in ICU settings with Covid-19 is now half what it was on April 9th.
“We see a slowing of the new cases. We see more and more people recovering.
“Over 70% of the total number of cases have recovered completely in the community setting.”
Dr Henry said over 10,000 lives have been saved: “The R value is dipping well below 0.8. If that R value had remained at 2.4, we would have been seeing on May the 7th, 12,000 deaths instead of almost 1,200.”
Meanwhile, HSE CEO Paul Reid said PPE continues to be sourced and distributed throughout the country even as the demand and costs skyrocket.
Masks for healthcare workers are in particularly demand - and the health service now needs 1.2million masks each day. In non-Covid times, this figure would come in at just 200,000 masks per day.
This means that the HSE needs 9million masks per week.
This is expected to cost €1billion over the course of one year.
To help with supply, South Korea is due to send a shipment of 120million masks in the coming days, following a telephone call between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Moon Jae-in.
According to Mr Reid, 9million masks, stacked on top of each other in their pallets, would be 11 times higher than Liberty Hall.
Mr Reid said the HSE plans to continue to source PPE from the international market while building up the capacity to manufacture PPE here in Ireland.
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He also said the country remains on track to be able to do 100,000 tests per week, from May 18 onwards.
All 30,000 staff and 28,000 residents in nursing homes have been tested and the HSE is now testing those living in disability and mental health service centres, as well as Direct Provision.
Huge costs are involved in both the PPE and the testing and contact tracing - but these are both essential if Ireland is to ease current restrictions, according to Mr Reid.
He said: “The costs of not investing in these are much higher in terms of the cost for society of not unlocking restrictions.”
Meanwhile, non-Covid services are set to increase over the coming weeks, as public hospitals continue to work with private ones.
People living with cancer, cardiovascular issues and neurological trauma, as well as those in need of transplant services, will have priority.